|The sun breaks through the clouds at Zuma Beach, signaling the end of three days of rain. Malibu received much-needed rain and sustained comparatively little damage during the extended deluge. © 2014 S. Guldimann
Rain at last. My mother and I went down to Westward Beach on Thursday at sunset to watch the rain arrive. The sky was pearl gray and tranquil, the ocean calm. Everything was strangely quiet, as if holding its breath.
There's a feeling of community at the beach most evenings. Locals and visitors gather to watch the sunset. People walk dogs, runners run, children try to wheedle another 10 minutes on the beach from parents, surfers gather for a last wave if the surf is good, or to commiserate when it isn't. Sometimes you see old friends. Sometimes the Rock Man is there, burning white sage in an old abalone shell, "calling" the whales and the dolphins. If he's in the mood, he might tell you stories.
There were no whales, no surfers, no storytellers on Thursday, but we met a friend, braving the weather to walk her dogs. We stood together for a while watching the light fade and the fog roll in.
|Rain rolls across the horizon at Westward Beach on Thursday evening. © 2014 S. Guldimann
|Far out over the ocean wild geese fly low, reflecting a second, illusionary flock in the still water. Their voices carried to shore, faint but clear. © 2014 S. Guldimann
|On Wednesday, two gray whales, a dozen dolphins and the entire Point Dume sea lion colony were out at sunset. Only a lone dolphin was visible on Thursday, ahead of the storm. © 2014 S. Guldimann
|It's easy to mistake the California toad's melodic peeping for the call of a small bird. This is Bufo boreas halophilus. The California Herps website (one of the best places on the Internet for all kinds of information on local reptiles and amphibians) says that this species is diurnal and nocturnal, but while I've heard toads calling during the day, I've only ever seen them at night, even during wet weather when they are more active. You can hear their song here. © 2014 S. Guldimann