The Coast

Delta Winds cover 1999Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College

The Coast

Matthew W. Love

Everyday I see people around me, going here, doing this, taking care of some sort of business--going through the motions of everyday drudgery, like most of us, not appreciating the smaller, finer things in life. Of all the things people take for granted, I believe that nature is one of the biggest. I, too, have fallen victim to such circumstances. Almost every day I'll be busy with something, my only concern being that of getting my work done and getting enough sleep. The closest I'll get to nature is maybe catching a National Geographic special on TV, which, albeit better than nothing, dimly compares to the experience of live nature. It's hard to get away in your busy schedule, but when you can it's well worth it. I was lucky enough to get away on such an excursion during my sophomore year, when my biology class took a week-long trip to Albion, a small port city near Fort Bragg and Mendocino.

One of our first sights to see was what my biology teacher called a "sinkhole." A sinkhole is where the ebbing of the tide has eaten away so much dirt and sand from the side of a cliff that it begins to slowly, over time, dig a giant hole. We did a little safari through a patch of weedy forest atop a bluff overlooking the ocean. On this bluff we came to the rim of the sinkhole. The sides of the hole slope down narrowly, making climbing down to the bottom an unsteady trip. Once we made it to the bottom, however, it was a sight I would not soon forget. One wouldn't normally think that a big hole in the ground could be so awe-inspiring, but it can be. All of the rocks protruding out of the sides of the earth were glistening in shades of orange, red, green, white, tan, brown and a few hints of purple peeking out here and there. Trees hovered over the top of the hole, almost like a crowd of googly-faced adults, fawning over a precious newborn baby. As all of the scenery kind of hypnotized my mind, I could hear the calming sound of the tide rushing in and creeping back out to sea. Each visit would bring something new: seaweed, logs, various minuscule ocean life and vegetation. It was all so unintimidating; it made me feel as if I could just comfortably sink down and sort of melt into the sand, becoming a part of it all.

A couple of days later, rising at about 4:30 in the morning, we explored the ocean's many tide pools. For someone who has never been to or seen a tide pool, the sight is truly an amazing thing. As the tide recedes into the water, it leaves little pools all throughout that lie between the beach and the ocean. Within each of these pools exists a menagerie of sea life, swirling about in juxtaposition with one another. In one trip to a tide pool you can see thirty to forty different types of sea life: sea anenomes, sea urchins, octopi, chitons, crabs, abalone, worms, tiny fish, squid. Just about anything in the ocean that isn't too large can be found there. You never realize exactly how big the ocean is until you witness the vast number of creatures that make their homes within it. It reveals to us that in the grand scheme of the world and its inhabitants, man plays such a tiny role.