|Sisters at the Beach - Carole, Susan, Connie|
Walking north to Swami's Beach, a world-famous surfing spot, I ascend the stairs and go another block to enjoy some peaceful moments in the Swami's lovely meditation garden where benches are set among the lush vegetation overlooking the ocean. Named for the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, the gardens are free and open most every day.
If we can tear ourselves away from the beach, there are endless possibilities for interesting exploration, including the fun and funky coastal towns of Encinitas, Cardiff, Oceanside, Leucadia, Carlsbad and Solana Beach. The San Elijo Lagoon, now with a beautiful new visitor center and miles of trails, beckons nearby. There we see buffelheads and avocets, egrets, warblers, a night heron and a northern harrier flying low over the marsh. A little farther afield is the Leo Carillo Historic Ranch, now a park being restored and developed by the city of Carlsbad. Enchanting old adobe structures set amid acres of trails and lush vegetation provide an oasis in the sea of bustling city around it.
Although none of us are Christmas traditionalists, it's still fun to find a tree and decorate it with makeshift ornaments often gleaned from the beach, topped with a lobster shell and strung with a few shells and some seaweed. Lights now adorn our camp spaces, and on Christmas morning we exchange silly gifts. My husband cooks a turkey on the barbecue and we sit down to a more-or-less traditional dinner with a most amazing backdrop!
We have cousins living in the San Diego area so thought it would be fun to have them and families to dinner at the beach. The weather could not have cooperated more, and it was a beautiful evening when all 14 of us sat down to dinner to toast our reunion and wish each other well for the New Year.
The sunsets, brilliant night sky and campfires provided each evening's entertainment. For my sister, Susan, and me, who love photography, the setting of the sun, with its glorious reflection on the wet sand, outrageous colors and cool silhouettes is the best time of day. Thanks to the photography gods for giving us digital technology!