The Shoal

From the scrublands to the strand.

A narrow shoal is all that separates Rodeo Lagoon and the ruins of a former army post from the frigid fingers of the California Current. Upon that shoal the rhythm of the headlands rests a beat and Marin's buttresses crumble and sink into the strand.

Beautiful though the fog-wreathed and manzanita-bedizined scrublands may have been, we longed to watch the Pacific break upon her shores. Onward we rattled to the cove, past the headland's military corpses, standing like poor imitations of Romanesque ruins in a white shroud.

Walking softly past the congregation of bird-watchers, who gather long before photographers have shuffled forth from their beds, we took the shoal to a lonely flock of stacks bathing in the surf.

Large, intertidal swells laved the upper reaches of the beach, drenching what remains of a once mighty cliff still speckle the beach. Kelp and anemone and a patchwork of barnacles still cling to the granite.

We stood watch, waiting and waiting for waves to stretch up the beach, to break at our feet and over the rocks. Just in time, as the shutter snapped shut, I would pull my camera back from the gasping sea, wipe the lens and wait for the next wave.

As before, I find myself driven to find the extraordinary in ordinary light. No sunrise or brilliant color did we see, but instead were greeted through a muslin fog by the throaty bellows of container ships navigating a tempestuous sea.

A foggy Rodeo Cove
A foggy Rodeo Cove
A foggy Rodeo Cove