Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Water Baby Bliss: Water Walking & Other Pleasures

I'm a Water Baby all the way. Put me in any body of water--from a bathtub to an ocean, and you'll see a serene smile on my face.

I'm here in Northern California to visit old friends and reconnect with the land and water of Lake County and the Northern California Coast. The jewel of Lake County is Clear Lake the largest enclosed lake in California. Tahoe is bigger but laps over into Nevada. Lake County is about three hours north of San Francisco off route 101--in case you're wondering.

Clear Lake is vast. The view from the shore sometimes feels as if it's an inland ocean. Clear Lake's shores spread beneath the shadow of Mount Konocti--technically a dormant volcano rather than an inactive one. So, keep your eyes open! Maybe in the coming centuries we'l see more fireworks.

CLEAR LAKE WATER WALKING

My favorite swimming place is a secret beach inside Clear Lake State Park located on Soda Bay Road. Go all the way back to the beach area with its happy families playing. If you turn right and hop over large rocks, you'll find Heart's Desire Beach--my name for it. If you turn left, walk to the gnarled willow tree, hang your towel, walk into the water and keep on walking.

That's what I call it: water walking. I swim past the reeds, listen to the conversation of the birds, and gaze eye-level at the Grebes. In spring they give a free ride to their fuzzy grebe-lets. A hawk flies overhead as I float on my back. In the clear shallow waters under the trees I creep forward on my hands with feet feeling the sand as they trail behind. The ducks duck into the reeds, calling.

Fishermen spot me and ask how I can swim in the lake. Isn't it nasty? Nope. Maybe some algae inside my suite, but nothing that won't wash off in a shower later on. In Water walking I am not only close to nature, I am in nature--heck, I'm part of nature. I'm a natural creature same as the birds and fish and frogs.

NORTH COAST

Friend Daniel and I trek to the coast from Willets to Fort Bragg. Willets is a latter-day hippie haven. Fort Bragg --north of Mendocino--is the low rent district on the North California Coast. We head for Casper Beach, Jughandle ecological shelf, and any sign marked "coastal access."

We stand on cliffs above rugged beaches that mark the Northern Coast. No tamed warm beaches for us. Southern Californians are softies! Heck, we should be two different states, north and south, same as the Carolinas and the Dakotas. On these cliffs we look out beyond the edge of the world.

Cliffs, coves, caves, havens, tide pools, beaches and bridges, steps & slides & paths, dwarf pine groves, rocks & seaweed & shells, & gulls. Barefoot or in water shoes we come to take it all in. All that beauty. Walking the beauty way. So much beauty in the world. So many different kinds of beauty. Each place with its own kind.

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3 Responses »

  1. What a walk through memory lane for me! I lived in Willets for three+ years back in the 70's and enjoyed the friendly mix of hippies and old timers. There was an ice cream shop (10 cents a scoop!) owned by three sisters - triplets - who dressed alike in perky dresses and aprons. My neighbors were on the next parcel of land over were Mormon, and taught me the art of identifying and drying large meaty mushrooms, and the joys of "Mormon tea." Everyone knew everyone, so no secrets in Willets, small town life up close and personal. Sigh.

  2. My husband and rode the Skunk train from Willets to Fort Bragg. A part of the Kyle RR, the Skunk's train cars were build at Phillipsburg, Kansas where we live. I love the water, too. The ocean, lakes, streams, ponds, all call to me, but mostly I love the creeks, especially Libby Creek in Montana. I grew up there on that creek, our house a stone's throw away from her banks, which at flood time crept mighty close.

  3. Susan, thanks for the Willets story of small town life and the Mormons.

    Eunice, Good to hear from you. Yes! Let's hear it for the Skunk Train...and water, water, everywhere.

    Janet

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