The Great Highway was closed, perhaps by blowing sand, so I took the parallel 48th Ave., long blocks of modest bungalows facing the ocean, many painted vivid yellows and blues, perhaps a form of wishful thinking when living near a gray ocean under a gray sky, often the case out here. Though not today. The sky is a ceramic blue, hard enough to bang up against. On this street you can’t see, you can only feel the ocean. I could park, cross the highway, and be there, facing that immensity. Be put in place in all senses. It feels like something I should do, a guarantee to take the shimmer off of any impulse.
Stop sign after stop sign, I drive on, shadowed by images of the miles of coastline in Japan scoured by the great wave. It could happen here, of course. The images linger as I work in Gene and Barbara’s garden a few blocks inland which after years of neglect, oxalis, sea winds, gophers, and sparse sand, has achieved the right to be called a garden. The stripling apple trees blossom. The hydrangeas bud. Geranium ‘Rozane’ is bluer than the sky. We have a reached a sort of shaky détente with the gophers.
Gardening always feels like that, a détente, by nature shaky. A few months ago the acacia in the front garden blew over. I stood it back up, staked it, hoping it would survive the trauma. It seems to be surviving fine.
Yes, it could happen here. And yes, someday it will.