By Charles Simic
I'm the child of your rainy Sundays.
I watched time crawl
Over the ceiling
Like a wounded fly.
A day would last forever,
Making pellets of bread,
Waiting for a branch
On a bare tree to move.
The silence would deepen,
The sky would darken,
As Grandmother knitted
With a ball of black yarn.
I know Heaven's like that.
In eternity’s classrooms,
The angels sit like bored children
With their heads bowed.
Our big stop for Thursday was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which we drove to directly from San Francisco after concluding that traffic into Santa Cruz made stopping there too long a diversion if we also wanted to have time to go to the beach in San Simeon before dark. We could see smoky haze nearly all day, briefly interrupted by fog off the water, though even the sea air smelled faintly of wood fires in the distance. The aquarium is fantastic; in addition to a large African penguin colony, which made it a must-see attraction for younger son, it has an enormous tank of local animals including schools of tuna and anchovies, sharks and sunfish, plus a big exhibit on jellyfish with Chihuly glass seaform sculptures for comparison, plus a bigger exhibit on otters which were playful and adorable, plus a wave tank creating a shoreline along which rescued seabirds live in an open-air cage like the one we saw in Torquay at Living Coasts, and just offshore in Monterey Bay we saw dozens of seabirds, kayakers, tide pools, sailboats and a colony of seals.
One of the otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium. They played with plastic balls, chased each other's tails and slept in a big otter pile.
The aquarium had a big exhibit of different kinds of jellyfish and sea combs...
...as well as this exhibit on how human garbage affects underwater communities (note the fish living in bottles)...
...and a terrific exhibit of injured shore birds brought to the aquarium for rehabilitation or to live permanently if they can't be released again.
Of course, the penguins were a big highlight for our family.
Depite what the color of the sky suggests, this photo was taken in the afternoon, not near sunset. The fires to the north created an overcast sky despite very low humidity in the area.
And once we arrived at San Simeon, we were surrounded by the cool, lovely fog off the Pacific Ocean.
After the aquarium we drove to San Simeon mostly along the 101, since Route 1 is closed between Monterey and here because of the wildfires which turned the late afternoon sun sunset-red and made the air thick and unpleasant all through the wine country we traversed to reach the coastal highway. We arrived in San Simeon in full fog, barely 60 degrees compared to about 80 in Monterey at lunchtime and already heading into the 90s in Concord. We took a walk on the beach, but apaulled had not felt well all day which made dinner a rather chaotic affair and bedtime even more chaotic. So I am going to post this and get to bed in the hope that everyone feels well enough in the morning to go see Hearst Castle before heading to Los Angeles and my relatives for dinner.