On Break

On Break

I’m on break. I decided to play hooky, have someone cover my Friday class at the University, as well as my patients, and take off Thursday night to join my best friend and his wife along a still undeveloped section of the central coast of California – the "last resort" – the place where dreams and dreamers culminate; in our inner topography, the destination of hope. They’ve rented a small house on the bluff, overlooking the Pacific. Wooden steps lead down to a beach, almost deserted at this time of the year, covered near the water’s edge with a myriad of small and large stones, veined, in a profusion of colors from lapis blue to emerald green, with scattered shells offering white contrast. An occasional jogger with the obligatory dog offers human scale to a sandy vista stretching to the edges of our horizon.


Friday morning I wake to the smell of coffee, eggs and sausage. Jeanine, always the early riser, is already busy getting ready to start things off on the right foot. There is a skylight in our room, filling it with light, and a promise of the day to come. We luxuriate over our meal, looking out at the ocean below, enjoying our friendship like the good coffee: rich and warm and strong.


Having been sated with calories sufficient to keep Napoleon’s army on the march, we make our way down the beach. It’s a day crackling with the effervescence of chilled champagne…filling my lungs with hope. The waves along the shore mound, curl, then break in that eternal pattern imprinted on our subconscious before we first crawled our way onto the land. Concealed by the blue silk of distance, Morro Rock rises from the sea. We walk, mostly in silence, feeling at one with the rhythm of the surf. A flight of birds in precise formation skims over the top of the rolling ocean. I fill my pockets with rock treasures offered up by the bountiful sea. Amazing, how the simple pleasures of our childhood can return to us in the form of small, smooth, colorful bits of stone. Contentment is the reward collected by those who feel that what they have is better than what they’re missing. We are blissful with our lot.


The sky, which has until now been clear, begins to fill with rapidly approaching dark clouds. We wisely decide to make our way back to the house, arriving almost simultaneously with the first falling drops.  Rain has a way of bringing out the contours of everything; it throws a colored blanket over previously invisible things; instead of an

intermittent and thus fragmented world, the steadily falling rain creates a continuity of acoustic experience. We now sit, safe and warm, looking out at the raging elements, listening to the patter of the rain on the on the skylight and against the window, with the strains of Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto adding to our satisfaction of the moment.


After a while, the sky begins to clear. We decide to watch the sunset from Montana de Oro. Michael, a semi-professional photographer amongst his many other talents, hauled his camera equipment with him to the point providing the best vista for the expected spectacle. The waves over the eons have chiseled large caves into the surrounding rock walls. A large kelp bed, home to the local otter population, floats languidly slightly to the north. A couple of intrepid souls soar with parasails in slow loops over the cliffs, hanging suspended above the cliffs on rising thermals.  A couple of young women from the nearby university trot past us in T-shirts, oblivious in their youth and fitness to the chill winds off the water. Two men with graying beards and clothes from REI troop by us with binoculars around their necks, inquiring if we had seen any whales. (We haven’t, though this is the time of year when the cetaceans’ southward migration  begins.) The dark clouds we left behind earlier in the day now decide to make their return. The sun dips behind a large cumulus nimbus, but there is a space between the cloud and the water, growing slowly orange gold in color, giving Michael and I hope that we may yet have a spectacular sunset. With the disappearance of the sun, the temperature dropped quickly, prompting Miki and Jeanine to head back to the car on the beach a half-mile away. I stayed with Michael, less out of optimism then the male credo that says you don’t leave a friend alone whilst he’s seeking adventure. Soon, but not soon enough to keep my extremities from need of defrosting, the sun slinked below the waves without burnishing the sky a fiery gold, leaving the disappointed photographers to make their way back toward some needed warmth.

Back at the house, the sky turns black, and the only thing visible through the glass walls are far-off grids of light, glittering like something spilled. The indigo velvet of the night

shrouds the unending roll of the waves below, leaving us once more to settle into the peace of the Pacific evening.

(The changing text size is unintended, but I can’t seem to make it go away. Sorry.)
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21 Responses to On Break

  1. Lakota Clay says:

    Jorge, I love it!  You make me very homesick.  I need a sea fix!  L.

  2. Cheryl says:

    It sounds much more beautiful than Galveston Bay but it probably really is not as we have beautiful sunrises.  Sun sets in the wrong direction so it is hard to get a good picture unless you drive a ways out….  Beautiful writing…Felt my own frostbite at the end…

  3. Magenta says:

    Glad you stopped to visit and enjoyed the lilacs.
    Your photo albums are great and I noticed the Unicorn Tapestry in your Paris collection.  I really like the magic unicorn motif.
    Your descriptive prose is wonderful and I liked this line a lot, "indigo velvet of the night."
    I\’ll stop back.

  4. linda says:

    Oh! She speaks my thoughts ,so we will share, I too loved, " the indigo velvet of the night."  Jorge you say what I feel. It comes from you smooth as butter melts.  I have been on the coastal shores you are speaking of, and I have fond memories but to say them as you do with words that are alive.  Words that live!
    Love, herbs and spices all things nice.  Linda

  5. Gelert says:

    I feel so relaxed after reading that, I think I\’ll come back and read it everytime I need to chill. Sounds wonderful.

  6. Suzalita says:

    What a wonderful break! The images you paint are vivid! Sounds beautiful!

  7. Moon says:

    you were telling about the way i dream Paradise 🙂
    my god, i wish i could be just there!
    and your words, just made me grow some wings, i was seeing and almost feeling " The waves along the shore mound, curl, then break in that eternal pattern imprinted on our subconscious before we first crawled our way onto the land"
    and i wish i wish to be there at Sunny days as well as when the rain comes, and to walk under the rain and gaze to ocean and beauty, not caring about getting wet 🙂
    here\’s a dream to work for…
    thanks for sharing

  8. Jaime Campbell says:

    What beautiful descriptions.  You are such a good writer, Jorge.  Really fine writing.  I loved reading about your trip.  Isn \’t the Pacific amazing?  I am convinced that the California coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Glad you had such a good time.
    Peace to you.

  9. Pamela says:

    Wow, you sure had an awesome weekend!
    Your descriptiveness compares to A Moveable Feast…
    Be well and thanks for dropping by my space; glad you like the quote…

  10. Kathryn says:

    who cares about the text? rhe writing is beautiful and I loved the journey with you……lovely.

  11. Joe says:

    Ahh. I never grow weary of the California Coast.
    The photo on my space shows me at condo overlooking the Monterrey Bay.  It is Aptos.  Most famous(?) for it\’s cement boat that lies forever half emersed in the water — covered with seagulls, pelecans and most of all, the guano that accompanies them.  Go Googling for "USS Palo Alto".  The seamans\’ version of the "Spruce Goose" of Howard Hughes.  It couldn\’t be done & they did just to prove the nay-sayers wrong.
    Best Regards,

  12. linda says:


  13. the1stephzen says:

    Beautiful entry!  I love the ocean.  Due to the circumstances of my life the last few years I haven\’t seen it in awhile.  I so want to go!!

  14. Renee says:

    sounds great…

  15. Michelle says:

    It sounds like such a great getaway! I am glad you got a nice break near the beautiful water and among close friends.
    Thanks for taking me with you through your writing. I enjoyed the visuals.
    P.S. Armando arrived safely to Alabama from Chile. I am very happy and enjoying having him near every day. It is like a dream come true for me. 🙂

  16. Jaime Campbell says:

    Hey Jorge!
    Yea, reality is overrated!  🙂  I hope you\’re easing back in.

  17. Marge says:

    I feel as though I am the only human on the face of the planet who has never seen an ocean…
    My beloved took me to Colorado a couple years ago so I could see the mountains (first time for me). I still miss them.
    We\’re hoping to go west this summer…hop in the car, hit Highway 30 and just keep driving westward until we\’re stopped by the Big Water.
    Your words were so evocative; I have a clearer sense of what it must be like to walk along the shore. To hear the sounds. Feel the ocean spray… Now I want to go to the ocean that much more…
    I\’ve never been to the sea, Jorge, yet I\’m feeling homesick now…
    Thank you for sharing that beautiful time with us landlubbers…
    Peace and Love.

  18. Brian says:

    Sigh.  The sea…the sea….

  19. Charlotte says:

    wonderful story…. 

  20. Patricia says:

    Ah, Jorge…you painted a beautiful word picture…how I wish I\’d been there to experience it all…I love the ocean, but don\’t get there often…you took me there today…

  21. Deirdre says:

    This is simply stunning.  Thank you so much for sharing the experience with us.  Makes me want to get away from it all.  There is nothing quite much better in this world than the company of good friends.  You are lucky, indeed.

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