Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunsets in San Pedro

I grew up on a penninsula, on top of cliffs above the Pacific Ocean just inland from Catalina Island. Outside of camping trips to inland central California, I didn't leave San Pedro until I was 15. I never understood how many people live far from the ocean. The first time I met someone who had never seen the ocean I was dumbfounded. There, I had taken it for granted all those years. When I moved, I missed the beach; my mom brought me there all the time when I was a child. I could find nothing to compare to the consistency of waves tapping against the shore. I missed the scent of the salty air coming in my bedroom window, the sounds of the ship's horns, and sea lions grunting on the buoy off Pt. Fermin. I longed for the constant shore breeze that's inherent in San Pedro.

The stale humidity of my first August days in Illinois were tough to adjust to. But most of all, the flatness of the suburbs of Chicago were what did me in. I literally felt compelled to climb atop roofs just to see far and wide. Wasn't there a hill anywhere? No look-out points? No vista drives? I was so accustomed to seeing below from above. The sun-settings over the roofs of houses in the cookie cutter subdivisions were dismal. You could hardly watch the fireball sun sink over the horizon. If you were lucky enough to be near a corn field on cloudy day, you might catch something spectacular, but still, nothing compared to watching the sun sink over the ocean beside the cliffs.

To be fair, now that I've spent some time in the upper midwest I have found ways to enjoy the sunset. I've found the perfect way to watch the sun sink between the tree-lined street I live near now, I've enjoyed dusk in lake areas, and even found a hill or two in Wisconsin. And there's something wholesome and very American about watching a sunset over the farmland. I can appreciate it, and really find it beautiful. But when I go to my hometown, I still run for the cliffs when the sun sets down.

I grew up just blocks from here. Theo and I were married on these cliffs.

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