We've so enjoyed taking week-at-the-coast trips the past few years, but this year with a newborn, it has been easier for us to take day trips to the beach instead. So that's what we have been doing over the past couple months: twice a week, we've been at the beach, enjoying the sand, the sun--and the many, many nature study opportunities.
The more often we go, the more attuned we are to the whats and whens of the landscape.
Pelicans flying north high overhead and then come back south low, in a neat line, just inches above the water.
Pods of dolphins passing by, fin tips gracefully peeking over the waves.
Otters fifty yards offshore, floating on their backs, then twirling and diving.
Sea lions bobbing between the surfers.
And combined with that familiarity is a lesson the children and I have learned over the past few weeks: the beach is always new. Of course that too is true about nature in general--our Calendar of Firsts has taught us that! But at the shore, we see that newness play out day by day. We'll drive to the same beach, park in the same spot, walk down the same trail, set up in the same spot...and the tide has changed the landscape in some way. Something new always catches our eye. The water washes away the castles made yesterday; the seaweed makes new patterns in the sand; the beached crabs have been picked up by the birds, and new ones have taken their place, brought in by the waves of the early morning.
Life on the coast--I could never tire of it.
I'm going to spend some time here and there over the next few weeks sharing some of the nature study opportunities we have had on our recent outings. I hope you enjoy coming along to the California coast with us!