Saturday, January 29, 2011

Show & Tell Saturday

with Maureen O. Betita

I live near one of the most beautiful places in California. Hey, I believe it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world!

The story of me and Monterey Bay is interesting. I was born in San Luis Obispo, a smallish college town about two hours south of Monterey, tucked into an impressive coastal valley through which run a string of extinct volcano called The Seven Sisters. I was born there. But in the middle of my third grade, we moved to Monterey for my Dad’s job.

I feel in love with Monterey. With the sea, the cypress, the quiet of ocean fog, the whole package. I found friends like I’d never had in San Luis and blossomed. And then, at the end of eighth grade, we returned to San Luis. (An older sister had managed to embrace every opportunity to get into trouble the five years we were there and my folks were worried I’d fall under the same sphere of influence.) So we moved back. And I hated it for a lot of years.

But San Luis has its charm. I did well in high school and in my senior year, I met the man I later married. Within two years, we left San Luis…it had no room for growth.

For over twenty years, we bopped about all over California. Sacramento, Anaheim, Riverside, back to Sacramento and then…out of the blue…a chance to return to Monterey Bay.

I never thought I’d be coming home. Sure, I’m on the opposite side of the bay, Santa Cruz being on the north coast…sorta.( Monterey Bay has an odd tilt, not truly oriented north/south.) I remember our first Christmas back, driving over to Monterey and sitting on one of the perfect benches at the very tip of the bay, where the waves have swept the unwary away too often. And I saw whales spout out in the bay. And I knew I was home.

Now, I walk my dog down to the bluff ½ a mile from my home and we spy on people walking their dogs down below, on the sand. We watch surfers and boogie boarders. We listen to hummingbirds chatter in the eucalyptus and Bonnie scouts for gophers and ground squirrels. And I take pictures of the sunsets or the afternoons that make my heart stand still when I look out over that water.

Do I get inspiration from my bay? I don’t know. Most of my PiratePunk is set in the Caribbean. I’d like to think that all oceans are truly one ocean. We give them different names, but really…they know no borders! I renew myself at the water’s edge. I breathe deeper and my eyes delight in the flash of sun on the waters. I see dolphin racing the waves sometimes. And once, a group of locals stood around for nearly an hour, watching a migrating whale very close to shore. Most days we have otters, seals, hundreds of birds and boils of sardines to watch.

Monterey is a marine sanctuary and I am blessed by the Goddess to find myself back here. If you’re ever in the area, give me a call! I know the best places to watch the sunset, several good restaurants and a few good roller coasters over at the Beach and Boardwalk!

And funnel cake!


Valerie Mann said...

It sounds beautiful. Even if there are no pirates there, I can see where your inspiration comes from!

Maureen said...

Well, no pirates, but Santa Cruz is a real free wheeling community. I do think it encourages the wide open brain!

Which does help me write!

Author Leanne Dyck said...

I like what you said about all oceans being one. What a thought to clinge to. Your beautiful home reminds me so much of my own. Thank you for sharing it with me. : )

Maureen said...

Well, Leanne, we live on the same coast...I bet the whales that slip past Monterey Bay, go sliding through the waters past your bit of current!

Anonymous said...

Maureen, this speaks to my soul! I am from the land-locked Upper Midwest. I moved to SoCal in 97, and knew just how lucky I was to find a place I LOVED to live. The sun, the beauty, the world's end magic of this coast just made me happy.

4 years later we moved away. For many years we lived here and there, some better than others. Every single time husband and I visited SoCal, though, we felt this RELIEF, this sense of whole. And we knew it was just a matter of time.....

A year and a half ago we moved back. And we love it. We're not as close to the coast, but we can be there in an hour. We are temperate, but surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains framed by palm trees as I look down my street. We have the desert, the mountains and the beach all within an hour. And we feel good, happy.

So, yep! I know JUST EXACTLY how you feel! And Monterey is gorgeous. Of course, I love the whole Central Coast, so pretty, so BIG and bold and dramatic. And great wine. Kid is going whale watching in a few weeks for school, I may tag along. If so, I'll tell one to wave as you as she rolls by SC!

Maureen said...

I remember living out your way! I did love how Mt. San Jacinto would be snow capped in the winter, and the stars I could see from my backyard...before Hemet, Perris and the rest were filled with homes!

It's a good location to touch so much of California.

Kathleen said...

I love the ocean, Maureen. There is something magical about the sound of the waves.i spent a few years living near the beach and I walked on the boardwalk everyday. I loved it. Monterey Bay sounds fabulous.

Maureen said...

Kathlee, our house is in an odd little pocket with a mesa of sorts between us and the beach...but when a storm is brewing and the waves are really crashing, it's like that sound comes right through the soil and will roll through our dreams all night.

One of the best things is being able to watch dolphin ride the waves from the bluff. Bonnie, of course, looking for gophers.

If the light is right, I can look right through the waves at the's magical.

Kathleen said...

Maureen, you sound like a writer. lol

You give such beautiful descriptions!

Maureen said...

Eeek! I sound like a writer? Not a writing pirate!?

Oh, no!

Kathleen said...

Yes, a writing pirate, too.

Maureen said...

Didn't know I had it in me, did you? ;-)