Monday, November 14, 2011

Signs of winter, sort of

When the earthmovers arrive by the Venice Beach pier and start building mountains of sand, winter is coming.

Every year, they do this to protect the low-lying residential and business properties from flooding when tides get high and waves get massive.

And every year, kids bring snow saucers or any flat object and slide downhill.

There's been a lot of pounding going on, as well, as they put sand fences up along the bike path to keep the whipping winter wind from acting like sandpaper to any creature passing by.





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I found this darkly humorous--a tsunami warning sign perched atop a new mountain of sand.

This little wall of sand wouldn't do much good and it's a long way to higher ground on this stretch of coast. It's really rather sobering in light of the horrifying disaster in Japan. Mostly, I try not to think about that, but these signs are hard to ignore.

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On a lighter note, a little haiku on a blustery day.



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emerald-green wave,

white-ruffed, trailing a veil of

mist on its shoulder



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34 comments:

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

It's really interesting seeing this sort of thing. It's not something most people know about, so I'd imagine it's the kind of thing you could include in a story set in Venice Beach, and that it would lend the story a certain legitimacy, I guess. Making it feel more real for the reader.

But I agree on that sign. What's the point? They really should just put up a sign that says, "Duck and Cover. Good luck."

Lydia Kang said...

I really enjoyed these pictures. I never see this part of beach life--the unpoetic rebuilding after a season is over.

Lovely haiku, too. :)

KarenG said...

Wish I lived near the ocean, tsunami warning signs or not.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Carol: "duck and cover" :) Yeah, that about says it all.

Lydia: It is fascinating to watch what it takes to protect a beach. The main lifeguard station was built a tad too close to the water so they put whale-size sandbags in front of it. (thx for liking my haiku) :)

Karen: Exactly. That's why I'm here.

Wen Baragrey said...

I have to admit, the tsunami signs are a bit too real for me. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to live near a beach again. Then again, the ocean and me have never been great friends :)

Beautiful Haiku, too. I just love your poetic descriptions. That one is particularly spot-on.

Bish Denham said...

Those signs do seem kind of odd. Perhaps we should put up tornado warning signs at random places in Tornado Alley. People need to know these things....

Liza said...

Wow. I've never heard of bulldozing the beach BEFORE winter! We bulldoze ours after the winter to put the sand back. Much smaller beach though! Lovely ocean picture. Lovelier Haiku!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Love the haiku. Winter seems to be coming fast. What happened to fall?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen: I know you've been scared away from the beach, and I don't blame you. Too much shaking going on in Christchurch. Maybe I've buried my head in the sand, but I love to be where I am and don't want to go. It's so lovely to just walk out to the shore.

Bish: You made me snort my coffee. Yes, let's put signs up for every possible scenario.


Liza: Ha! Yes, the prep work along the coast is required because people built so close to the water. Really, that's why so many communities put up berms and stockpile sandbags. *sigh*

Lisa: I know! Fall is my favorite time and it seemed to flit by this year.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I always laugh when I see those tsunami signs because really, when have we ever had one hit our shores? But yeah, I guess it could happen. Though it's not something I want to even consider!

Sherrie Petersen said...

I forgot to say -- I love the angles you used to take those photos!!

Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't know they did that kind of thing. We have more snow to slide down than sand! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sherrie: Thank you for the angles comment! I do pride myself on composition even though I shoot these blog pix with my phone.
And, oh yes, we've had a number of tsunami in California. Crescent City was slammed hard in 1964 when that major quake hit Alaska. I think it's something about the way that piece of land is situated, because they got some damage this year after Japan, too.

Jemi: Snow works better. :D

storyqueen said...

Winter in SoCal is so different from Winter elsewhere.

It took years for me to notice and appreciate the subtleties of the changes of seasons down here, but I have been won over.

Love the haiku.


Shelley

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Shelley! Thank you. From your 'down here' reference I wonder where up there may have been. Hmmm?

VR Barkowski said...

Beautiful haiku, Tricia. You know how much I Iove your shore posts.

When living on the coast, I found the tsunami warning signs a bit nerve-wracking, but it was the 'beach closed due to oil spill' that broke my heart.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Having only been there in the summer, I didn't know they did that. Thanks for the information and the pictures and the words. Come on winter....bring it on.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

VR: Thanks, my dear.
I'd die a little if there was an oil spill here. I hate the loss of life and habitat that each spill has cost our world.

Yvonne: Your winter will bring it on a whole lot more than mine!

Julie Dao said...

Ohhh I love the beach and the way you write about it, Tricia. Those signs are really dark... I would hope that people would be running for cover in the event of a tsunami, since being close enough to read those would probably be really dangerous!

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful haiku.

That tsunami sign is crazy! Eep. I guess winter is indeed coming.

Sarah Laurence said...

I hate noise when I'm trying to write. When the leaf blowers got to me, I headed to our local library. Sometimes a new location can stimulate fresh thought too. It was a good day. Best of luck with your writing!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Julie: I know! I suppose the hope is that people will be aware in advance, but still....(and thank you!)

Thanks, Talli! Yeah, winter seems to be sneaking up fast this year.

Sarah: Oooo, I can't stand leaf blowers--so noisy and polluting. Funny you should say that about new location. I went to a Starbucks the other day with things I wanted to work out about the story and I actually got something accomplished. The place was full of people concentrating on their laptops and so conducive to work.

Angela Ackerman said...

This is so different from where I live. I think remembering what happened in Japan would make it tough to live on the coast. But too, I think there are many places where you have to have 'the perfect combination' of events before something like that would be possible. I know my brother loves the ocean and can't dream of living anywhere else. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Angela: I love the mountains and desert, as well, but I never am as happy when I'm far from the ocean. And almost all places have some form of severe weather or natural disaster. Sometimes I have to remind myself we're on a planet with a molten core in the vastness of space--anything is possible.

Faith Pray said...

Tricia, we have Tsunami drills here, lying as we do on our little Pacific Northwest peninsula. We don't have sand like that though, or sand sledding. How fun!

Marcia said...

Such cool texture in these photos.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Faith: Drills? wow, is it just sirens or something more? I bet you could find a place to go sand sledding. Are there any dunes?

Marcia: Thank you! I think that was one thing that drew me to stop and shoot it.

Theresa Milstein said...

I just found you from Robyn's blog. I enjoyed your pictures.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi, Theresa! Nice to see you here.

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh the loveliness of these pics, Pat. Your haiku made my heart smile. But they always do. Smooch, pal.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love the way the wave is described. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Robyn: :D

Eagle: yay!

Ed Pilolla said...

haha:) they do the same thing in hermosa beach where i used to live. i did a photo essay for a local website of families sledding down the sand mound like it was a snowy hill. it was a fun shoot:)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ed: Hi! I bet it was a fun shoot. I used to love the assignments with kids involved. :)