monterey: how far I’ll go


So–in more ways than one, I’m back! I’ve returned to the East Coast, for one, but I’m also returning to my blog after a difficult few weeks (it felt good to take a break, honestly). I was so excited to share some gorgeous Northern California seascapes that it’s no surprise I’ve popped back into the blogging life sooner rather than later.

Monterey remains one of the most chillingly stunning places I’ve ever visited. Traveling there felt more like going home than getting off the plane in Massachusetts did! Riding down those endless seaside drives with an eye to the cold surf-break, peeking at otters and pinnipeds of all varieties, pulling my hat securely around my ears as I investigated the shells, crabs, and shipwrecked kelp that cover the rocky shores…it’s the wild ocean, the Romantic “sublime,” as I never imagined it before. Somebody call the Hudson River School!


This state beach was our first stop after a 4 AM drive from San Francisco. As we’d just flown in from the Big Island that very morning, the size of the waves took my breath away! Just days ago I had been splashing around like a selkie in Hawai’i. I surely couldn’t swim laps in these Californian breakers–Kona in summer this isn’t!


The sand, too, departed from the lava/coral mix to which I’m accustomed. This delicate alien transfixed me for as long as I could bear the biting January winds. What did it look like while suspended in the open ocean? What kind of propulsion system did it use?


If you ever thought that my favorite Russian painter, Ivan Aivazovsky, exaggerated the beautiful oceanic interplay of water and golden light…nope! He captured it perfectly.


Now the Pelicans-of-Personal-Ramblings have flown in to warn you about the next paragraph I’m going to write.

I’ve started this year surprised to find some aspects of my life unexpectedly altered and my future uncertain. Imagine (to use a completely random example that clearly has nothing to do with any recent film releases) that you were told that your one quest in life was to cross the ocean on an outrigger canoe with–oh, I don’t know–a demigod-slash-folk-hero. You set off on your journey, enjoy all sorts of high-flying adventures with said demigod, and then out of the blue, your quest doesn’t work out and you’re now sailing solo. It’s disorienting, especially since you spent so much time thinking that this whole trans-oceanic demigod adventure deal was your destiny. Maybe you even feel like a failure.

But you know what? I get the sense that all I need is a bioluminescent manta-ray-grandma to swim under my ship and musically remind me of who I am and what I’m capable of. I can still write, photograph tiny magical microcosms, read scores of books each month, and obsess over new Netflix series about intelligent children surviving rather unfortunate situations. I’m still a girl who loves my island and a girl who loves the sea.

(And if I happen to learn celestial navigation and wayfinding while discovering where my life will take me next…well, that’d be a bonus!)



  1. I loved Moana! It makes a pretty good metaphor ;). California is gorgeous looking, I hope I make it there someday. Wishing you luck on your changing future!


    • Hi, Elizabeth! Thanks for the well wishes! I appreciate it, and they’re much-needed 🙂 I hope you do indeed get a chance to visit NorCal someday: it’s a place like no other. I miss it already!

    • Thank you! I know, I was so surprised by that photo when I downloaded my pictures. I’ve always had terrible luck with sunset/reflection photography, so I couldn’t believe I captured that 🙂

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