It was our last full day out at the coast, and after a very busy week, I was looking forward to a quiet day with no plans ... my art supplies were spread around me on the table, and I was sipping the last of my morning coffee going back and forth between drawing and just watching the rain outside.
That came to a screeching halt with a knock on the door, word about the tragedy in Chile, and a warming that there had been a tsunami advisory for the coast. The beaches were closed (the much anticipated clamming weekend was canceled until further notice) and although there wasn't an official evacuation in place, many were packing up and heading inland. Although they were only predicting 2-4 foot swells where we were, that seemed significant enough for concern sitting beach-side, right at sea level on a 28 mile peninsula sticking out into the ocean. Looking out into the surf, or what you could see through the mist, it was easy to imagine the unknown dangers lurking beyond.
We scurried around between the television news coverage, worrying about friends and loved ones in Hawaii and Guam, starting to pack, then deciding not to leave ... finally settling on packing up "a little bit" (we would be leaving the next day, anyway) putting some stuff up on tables or shelves "just in case" and heading to higher ground for a few hours. We decided to make our final decision after reports started coming in from the more southerly beaches.
For us, "higher ground" was a place we'd been talking about visiting anyway ... just maybe at a little more leisure.
There seemed to be a little more traffic than usual, everyone was out doing something: heading to the north end of the peninsula where there were a few hills, heading south to go back inland, or chuckling at those who were doing so from a beer-drinking bonfire party along the highway.
The sun was back out as we arrived at our destination, and we were greeted by cheerful blooms along the path.
Heading along the trail we'd get ever increasing glimpses of the dramatic ocean below.
It seemed a lot of other people had the same idea as we had...
There's just something about lighthouses.
The symbol of safety, protection;
looking down from a lighthouse one is easily reminded what could happen to ships if it wasn't here, guiding them away from the rocks.
I have much more to share with you about this particular lighthouse, North Head Light - but that will have to wait for another post.
For now, well, you already know how this story ends. After a while, reports started coming in that Hawaii had "dodged a bullet"; folks headed back down the trail to their cars, and eager clammers were already gathering on the beach below.
Although there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief upon hearing that the Pacific was no longer in immediate danger, I can't say the mood actually lightened, as the fact remained that earlier that morning, hundreds of Chileans had lost their lives, and it was indeed a sad day.