Ocean View Points
Traipsing Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove, clouds are
threatening but so far their gray bellies haven’t done much but
ooze a few tears and a little ozone. I’m prepared, though: long
gray waterproof jacket – hood up, baggy Navy waterproof pants,
white duct tape wrapped around my walking shoes and a white
surgical mask on my face to keep it warm.
“Look! It’s Michael Jackson,” two
passing cyclists shout.
Smart alecs! I’d break into a
Moon Walk if I knew how to do it.
This is the beauty of aging: I
don’t give a tinker’s damn what I look like or what anyone
thinks of me on my nature walks.
Besides, I’m not the only
eccentric on the trail. I just passed another mature woman who
was walking her cat on a leash. Mind you, this doesn’t work the
same as with a dog. Oh, no.
First, the cat climbs a small
tree while the woman patiently waits for it to descend. After it
disembarks, the feline kind of sashays along behind the woman
until it finds something to sniff and veers left and right.
Let’s get something straight here
and now: cats cooperate when they choose to. This does not make
them evil and certainly not stupid. In fact, the more compliant
a pet is, probably the lower its IQ and the higher its owner’s
egoic need to control it.
Don’t believe me? I once attended
an AMA convention (not medical but American Mule Association)
where I learned that mules are only “stubborn” in the eyes of
their controller. They simply don’t go along with the program if
they don’t want to because they are so brainy.
So, those of you out there who
rebel against the crowd, be proud. You may be smarter than you
think . . .
Oh, the wonders of biking along the 17-mile-drive in Pebble
Beach . . . pelicans seem to lift magically from the waves and I
peddle fast trying to keep up with their graceful arch in
flight. My morning depression is streaming from behind me and
vaporizing as nature commands me to stay present.
Then I see it several yards away
on the beach: His golden eyes are no longer piercing, but he’s
looking at me, warily.
This bedraggled coyote of the
long ears and snout haunts Pebble Beach where other coyotes,
buffed with fluffy tails, also compete for tender morsels:
squirrels, moles, small birds. I first spotted him a year ago
and couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen a coyote in the
area and thought it was a very sick, emaciated German Shepard.
When I called the security guard he told me there were three or
so in the area.
Anyway, a tourist has trained his
binoculars on the beast and yells to a woman who is nonchalantly
walking her unleashed toy poodle that wears a pink coat, “Watch
out! There’s a coyote over there.”
I glance over again and he’s
vanished. The coyote, not the purse candy . . .
Pelicans, the mewing of a baby
otter who wants mama to know his location, the shrill call of
black oystercatchers with mandarin bills . . . grazing deer with
velvety antlers budding . . . squirrels that beg at the turnout
to Bird Rock, where seals cavort in the water – their antics
eminently recordable by tourists with cameras in hand . . .
Living here might make you broke, but what a place to be broke.
As I exit, I notice the coyote
has stretched out on the sand for a snooze, and in a different
frame of mind, he’s beautiful . . .