Waning Crescent Moon
Just when you thought it was safe...
Yesterday I hightailed it out of the heat wave that has made San Juan Bautista uncharacteristically sweaty and headed for cooling ocean waves in Pacific Grove. I found a good parking spot at about 10:30 a.m. a block or two from Lovers Point and mulled it over for a few minutes. Then I decided to do my loop walk clockwise through town to Asilomar and return along the beach. Little did I know then that this decision would save me from witnessing something very unpleasant. My guardian angel deserves a raise.
Passing by the PG Library, the Museum of Natural History, and my favorite park with a Class AAAAA basketball court, I wound my way around to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. I knew very well that this is the wrong time of year to observe any migrating Monarchs, but I like this little park and it's fun to sit for a minute on the butterfly bench nonetheless.
Continuing on Lighthouse Avenue toward the beach, I stopped to take a look at the old NOAA quarters, which, as I understand it, was recently defunded despite strong opposition from stalwart local Congressman Jimmy Panetta. I hope at least that the awesome murals don't get destroyed by some billionaire's land grab.
Soon I was oceanside and yes, it was perfect. I walked over to Rocky Point before turning around to head back toward Lovers Point.
There were lots of people on the trail, most of whom had oh-God-I-love-this-place smiles on their faces. It was sunny, it was wavy, it was splashy, it was barely 70. It was breezy, it was stunning, it was coastal California at its very best. I saw one elderly couple frozen in place, awestruck, clearly on vacation from some miserable, landlocked, drought-stricken prairie, beaming with delight, but unable to budge from their ocean view delirium. So I spoke my go-to snap-out-of-it-man line as I approached.
"These California summers are brutal aren't they?" I said.
They looked at me for a second and laughed, with sunshine in their eyes, and moseyed on down the trail. I had saved two more wayward citizens from Asilomar shock. Don't applaud, just throw money.
I soon passed the lighthouse and the golf course and padded my way to the edge of town, still walking along the ocean, when I began to see Lovers Point ahead of me. It is Lovers Point, by the way, not Lovers' Point or Lover's Point. The name is actually a short version of the longer, now out of favor name - Lovers of Jesus Point. It's a long story and I don't want to get into Methodist-bashing here. It wouldn't be very Christian - or very Ohlone - of me.
Anyway, at the tip of Lovers Point, which juts out into the sea at a loverly city park, there were tens of emergency response personnel, along with teams from the local television stations. It was then about 12:30 p.m. Evidently, right about when I had begun my walk at 10:30 or so, when I had decided to do the town portion first, a swimmer or surfer in the water just off the point, was attacked by a shark in full view of witnesses. Icky bad development for all. As described in the newspaper article attached above, three heroic people jumped in to rescue the poor guy at great risk to themselves. According to the latest news reports the victim is doing pretty well in the hospital, the beaches of PG are closed, and the shark is being sought for questioning.
I am grateful for the rescuers' heroic actions, but I can only imagine the hysteria of the moment at that crowded location. I spoke briefly to a couple of emergency crew members as I passed through the scene. They were incredibly cool and calm - the guardians of the human experience. Walking through the park and around the crescent shaped cove toward my parking spot, I looked back. I couldn't even tell anything had happened.
Peace, Love, and Lady Luck,