I’m house sitting this week in the tiny town of Montara just North of Half Moon Bay. It’s fun to wake up where the fog is swirling around the trees…oh wait, that happens to me all the time here in San Francisco. Particularly in the Summer months!
Ah forget it, for the purposes of this post we’ll say the fog was extra cool this morning. Or maybe it’s what I saw through the fog. Hang on, no skipping ahead. There’s gotta be some structure to this story or all will be chaos and mayhem.
So I lace up my running shoes and head out the door…into the swirly misty fog. Habit draws me to the right, the comfort of running a path I’ve biked before. But then Morgan’s words float into my head about finding a pretty place to run so I turn left, towards the ocean.
Montara is a sleepy town and I enjoy running down the wide street with nearly no traffic. Contrast this with my runs in San Francisco where I’m constantly stopping at intersections and searching for a bit of eye contact with the harried drivers before daring to cross the street.
I forgot to bring my new shuffle but that’s ok because the birds are providing the soundtrack this morning. Thump thump thump go my feet and it’s a comforting sound as I hit my stride. I round a corner and spot a narrow metal bridge to the my left leading to dirt path that goes up a hill. Hmmm, where does that go? An adventure? I love adventures.
So onto the dirt path I go, my lily white running shoes turning more brown with each stride in the soft dirt. Up the hill, on up a few stairs, hey, there’s nice railing up here and clearly defined path leading the edge of a bluff. I decide to run along that and take in the view.
As I’m running I look down at the beach which I can now see for the first time. And there are lots of rocks. Wait a minute, the rocks are moving. Hey, those aren’t rocks, they’re seals! I stop dead in my tracks and take in the sight. About 30 seals on the shore. Lots of big ones, and quite a few that look like youngsters.
Some of the seals are motionless but a lot are on their backs rubbing against the sand in what I can only describe as delight. Then I notice there are more seals drifting in on the very gentle tide. This is a tidepool area and there aren’t really waves to speak of, just the ebb and flow of the tide.
The funny thing is these guys are sort of drifting in, rolling around in the shallow water, then sometimes drifting back out. THEN I notice that the little bay is absolutely filled with seals swimming around, poking their heads out of the water, then swimming some more.
And then it dawns on me…this is their morning unwinding time. Kind of like a seal nursery. Where mom and dad can feel pretty safe about their kids and the kids can play or sleep or do whatever they want.
I walk to the furthest corner of the bluff and climb over the waist high fence to see better. About 30 sets of big dark eyes look up and keep looking. Well, I don’t want to interrupt their downtime so I go back to my run. I’m completely pumped up by this surprise encounter and start running through a grove of trees along the bluff.
The fog is so thick that I actually get rained on a bit from the trees that have collected the moisture. I’ve never run on a trail before and I think I’m hooked. What a rush, to run amongst nature and such a soft and forgiving surface. For the first time I ran longer that I meant to because it was simply fun. And I didn’t want to stop.
Of course I did stop, eventually. I had to go check on the seals again. Make sure I didn’t just dream the whole thing. They were still there, scratching their backs in the sand. I can’t wait to visit them again tomorrow…
Be well, Kathleen