I woke up Monday morning excited about returning to familiar beaches. We started out with hot chocolate and muffins at Simone's in Ventura, then drove up to Carpenteria, just to the north, where Amy showed me something new, the Seal Sanctuary. We parked near a field where someone was growing pink and white flowers, walked down the dirt path through tall grass, passed over train tracks--could smell the gummy,oily, black scent of old cross ties and sea air, and peeked through wild yellow blossoms, over the cliffs, down to ocean, and oil rig, sand, and seals.
A volunteer who stands on the cliff watching over the seals, keeping the beach free of human foot traffic, loaned me her binoculars. I could see them, some waddling about, others flopped out, beached as they say.