A friend was teasing me about my desire to be a rescue effort on the news when I told him about my Saturday shenanigans. He thought it was hilarious as I was explaining how amazing it felt. He sounded so much like my Dad as we were messaging on Facebook. His sense of humor and the amazing feeling of accomplishment had me in fits of giggles and full belly laughs. I really wasn’t trying to be reckless in ignoring the signs warning me to not trespass because it was dangerous. I wanted to explore and relive a few memories. I’ve been thinking about it since I blogged This Water Baby Is Raising Her Standards. I finally did a couple of days ago and shared the exhilaration in Rewriting the Past in the Present. Today is about reflection.
Dad was shocked and slightly appalled that I would hike in river shoes, a bikini, skirt and tank top. I didn’t think about sunblock and didn’t bother when I saw I already had tan lines before hitting Santa Monica. When I headed out, I remembered that I mainly walked down the cliff before. I had forgotten how fearless I was because I felt protected. I had a hand to hold mine and a guide to tell me where to put my feet. It was very much like walking before because I was leaning so much on someone else’s strength. This time my feet slipped and shifted in the soft dirt of crumbling rock. It was up to me to find solid footing and maintain balance. I spent most of the time downhill in a crouch, holding onto solid rock where I found it. My confident goat hopping didn’t happen until I made it down to large boulders and smaller rounded rocks where everything was mainly horizontal. I remembered my tennis shoes sliding through algae slick rocks and taking forever to dry, and never smelling the same. I went in rugged river shoes and though it was still slippery, I had a better ability to remain vertical. Good things happen when you aren’t a lovesick puppy watching your man instead of walking hazards.
My Dad has silly ideas about rigging me up to rappel down the cliffside in hiking boots, but I was happy to do it the way I did. And Dad’s way makes me giggle.
I never thought about the danger. It was about wanting to see what I had seen before. Really, I was looking forward to the many starfish I had seen. It never occurred to me that it was too dangerous or that I couldn’t do it. I did it before, so there was no reason I couldn’t do it again. It never crossed my mind that the years between then and now would strip away my ability to do whatever I felt like. Maybe I needed to prove to myself that capability begins as a mindset, but I already knew I could do anything I’m motivated to. I was afraid. At times I was terrified, but I wasn’t about to let fear stop me. I had a goal down that mountain and below those waves. I wanted to see and do and be.
I wanted to see the starfish and when I didn’t, I had to know what happened to them. I had to know if the seascape would have shifted in 20 years. I did. Believe it or not, I’m far less reckless than I once was. I’m still pretty insanely impulsive on some things, but for the most part I’m more cautious than I should be. When my bravery hides, I coach myself until I figure out how to conquer my fears and pick up that phone or climb that wall. And my confidence is strong, but not like it once was. It looked familiar, but the sea life changed. The creatures in the tide pools were all new neighbors as if they old ones had moved out. I don’t remember seeing sea slugs and hermit crabs before, or maybe I was just too excited about anemones, urchins, mussels and starfish. I had to know and see the similarities and differences. There were so many more hermit crabs than I remembered and they were so tiny that I could have probably set a couple on my fingertip if I wasn’t so squeamish about their spider like crawl.
20 years ago we tried to bring home some animals, but they were dead and stinky by the time he brought me home. I had no plans to bring anything home Saturday for that reason. My trip was about doing and mainly seeing. I also had no pockets and kept my car key and phone in my bikini top. It was an area ripe with life. I imagined taking home a shell and not seeing the creature inside of it. It would have been smelly. Then I considered rocks and sea glass but thought maybe there should just be a next time with pockets.
I don’t know what my next trip to San Pedro will look like or how long I’ll wait to go back. I may never go down there again, or I may decide I need that amazing boost next week or next month. Well, maybe not. Part of being Mom means being the example I want them to follow. My kids will likely go to the Cabrillo Beach Aquarium, but I wouldn’t take them down that cliff. And there are so many more places in my home town left to explore and no one to stop me from doing so.
Right now I’m still basking in the badassery that kept me riding a wave of excitement and joy. My body is still sore but I can at least avoid wincing when I walk up and down stairs or squat. I think my body forgot it could do what it did and it’s angry at the reminder. It’s like a happy set of battle scars that remind me I’m pretty phenomenal. It hurts in a good way. It reminds me of the amazing I just lived through when something tries to bring me down.
Today was filled with really low moments. I usually love Mondays but today kinda blows as far as my start to a busy week. It’s natural to have an amazing weekend and then Monday blues, but today was especially difficult with tears throughout the day for various non blog worthy reasons. That just means the week will pick up and dust me off in amazing. Life is cyclical and you can always expect rainbows after a heavy rain. At least I do.