Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Short View

Many mornings are foggy on the point, as they tend to be all along the coast. (It is possible to check Cabrillo's online cameras before leaving the house, to get a look at the weather, in case you'd rather not come to the park unless it's clear.) Visitors arriving might be dismayed there's enough fog they can't see the ocean at all, but I'm thrilled when I arrive at the park to find thick fog. Sight obscured, my hearing seems more acute -- mostly because I'm paying better attention to it -- and I love the sound of the ocean when I can't see it. We are such visual creatures. It takes a veil of fog sometimes to remind us, in such a visually breathtaking environment, that our other senses can join the feast. You have to listen between the wails of the foghorn, is all.

Fog drip is an important source of water for plants and animals in this dry ecosystem. It's hard to see fog drip collecting on plants. But you can easily see it collecting on spider webs, beading up on the various web patterns in the most beautiful way. In fact, a day's new spider webs are ordinarily barely visible, if at all, on dry clear mornings. When fog erases the ocean, it's also easier to focus on the short view, what's immediately around you...and those beads of fog highlight the lines of silk normally invisible. Suddenly you notice there seem to be millions of spider webs; every plant on Cabrillo apparently a spider condominium, and they're all out barbequing. All the plants all draped with finely beaded silk doilies. Dragonflies and butterflies are out enjoying the rare moisture, too, and are easier to spot against the opaque white background. Possibly they'll meet... If you stake out one area and just sit still and watch, maybe you'll see a miniature Mutual of Omaha moment.

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