Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
Henry David Thoreau
Our last beach day of 2013 on September 29th was glorious. It was a spur of the moment decision to hop in the Karl up and head to Julian Bay. The sun was too warm, the Lake was too flat and we were too excited to steal one last beach day to do anything but load up and go. Looking at these photos I took a short three months ago, with a fresh twelve inches of snow on the ground and more falling by the hour, the vivid colors seem almost impossible in their saturated hues. The solstice was yesterday and we are making our way back to the sun but not before winter settles in for a good, long visit. I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the Old Man, wrapping my dreams, thoughts and intentions in his snowy blanket and allowing them time to rest and germinate before summer's warmth brings them to life.
On our way over, I had a feeling we would see a bear when we arrived at Julian Bay (Stockton has one of the highest concentration of black bears in the world). Unfortunately, we were a little late to watch him saunter down the beach but he left his foot prints behind.
Julian Bay is one of my favorite anchorages— it's open to the big Lake, the sand 'sings' when I walk on it and the tombolo is an amazing contrast the vast lake. It's ringed by cranberry bushes, pines and marsh grasses, the water has a reddish hue and since it's not on the Lake, you can hear birdsong and other forest voices.
The majesty of pines never fails to catch my eye.
There is magic and wonder everywhere, the trick is too slow down enough to see it. A feather caught in a branch, a piece of driftwood pointing the way back to the beach, kids sprinting over the sand, a cluster of berries framed by frost kissed leaves and a smile on the muzzle of a Labrador named George— these are enough to remind me to walk mindfully through the world.
On this day after the Solstice, I'm ready to embrace the gifts of winter. As Thoreau said, I've 'resigned myself to the influence of the earth'— she knows we need the quiet and rest of winter before the riotous bounty of summer begins. I'm willing to follow her lead and live in accordance with the ageless rhythms of such a wise spirit. The snowflakes, icicles, warm light from our porch casting shadows on the snow, long nights, saunas, the muffled quiet during a snowstorm, fires in the wood stove, the sound of ice on the Lake and the feeling of being tucked in for a 'long winters nap'— these are the reasons I appreciate the austere beauty of winter. After all, I know we'll be back at the beach soon enough (after we survive mud season).