Fall is here. There is a little chill in the air and the sun’s journey southward gives forth a particular quality of light. This week has found me cycling as much as possible, and I naturally gravitate to the coast to ride the 101 as it meanders through the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia. Every few miles I get a spectacular view of crystalline blue waves peaking and crashing into torrents of white foam and see the surfers catch a wave and joyously ride the crest balanced precariously somewhere between chaos and nirvana. “Clear and sweet is my soul, clear and sweet is all that is not my soul,” wrote Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass.
A few weeks ago, I visited Cape Cod and I was thrilled to see a group of surfers anglin’ on ankle busters, but I think they imagined the waves as a bonsai pipeline.
The view of the ocean from the saddle of my bike is where my soul opens up, and my spirit returns to balance. On the bike, I scout out places to paint and observe the world at a pace that allows for interaction, reflection and a laugh or two. Yesterday it was great fun to see Surfrider Foundation members on street corners in Cardiff for their “Hold onto Your Butts” campaign. They were spending their Saturday morning reminding us that cigarette butts do not belong on the beach. It is another of Surfrider Foundation’s good causes part of their beach clean-up efforts and their larger campaigns like “Save Trestles” which kept a toll road out of San Onofre State Park. They do good work. They teach us to be responsible for our beaches and oceans as we should be for any good friend. These are two watercolors that I’ve recently painted of late afternoons in North County San Diego and Truro on Cape Cod. Both pristine and soul redeeming spaces.