A drizzly, grey second day of spring. I've just come from Pilates class, followed by half-an-hour of stationary bike at the gym around the corner (trying to work off my caloric intake over the long weekend). I was the only one at the gym aside from Yolanda, the woman who sits at a desk all day checking in customers while she knits or does crossword puzzles. I watched a Tom Hanks movie with no sound or subtitles while I cycled and tried to ignore the blaring music and ads on the gym radio. Back to city reality.
The days were warmish and pleasant at the coast. It took me a while to quiet my mind and listen to the sound of the waves just below our apartment, a gentle lapping on this large bay. I couldn’t wait to get out! While hubby jogged, I walked along the road bordering the shore to an area with large rocks and crashing breakers. On the other side of the road I was faced with “ocean view” apartment towers built on what were once sloping dunes.
I kept my eyes focused on the ever-moving teal blue sea and foamy breakers, watching for wildlife. A plethora of gliding pelicans (their open beaks reminded me of Edward Scissor-Hands) and raucous seagulls whose chest feathers were the absolute essence of white. Then…I spotted a species of bird I’d never seen before and pulled out my binoculars. It was spectacular. Excited, I waited for hubby to run by to show him, regretting our field guide was back in the city. Only back home did I learn its name: Inca tern.
Along the road, I stopped to photograph an “animita”, a small shrine built in memory of someone who died here. Chilean roadsides are populated by these shrines, bedecked with flowers (plastic and live) and inscriptions. I regretted later that I didn't photograph the stand offering bundles of seaweed for sale, a traditional ingredient for stews.
After at least a year without an ocean visit, I was on a wildlife roll, spotting two sea otters, my first sighting in that populated stretch of coastline. On my return, I walked briskly, on a high, breathing in the sea air as it brushed my face. That was what I had come for.