Morro Bay Morning

Yesterday morning, on an impulse, I drove to Morro Bay to spend a couple of hours kayaking during the winter bird festival. The day was warmer than last year, the Bay calmer, and the tide more friendly. Already high at 9:00, when the rental opened, it provided me with two more hours of suction up the estuary before it would turn and leave me stranded. Slight dabs with the paddle propelled me across the spreading silky surface.

A friend had told me she spotted 30 species on the Bay a few days earlier. Equipped with binoculars and camera to capture a grand wildlife display, I felt guilt for possibly disturbing creatures I knew were resting here to gather energy for their long migrations. How much to take of nature’s bounty without creating harm? Sustainability in the abstract takes up much of my time, but I’ve done little to reduce my personal footprint. This has come home to me while reading a book about logging in British Columbia called The Golden Spruce that recalls my days of working in the pulp mill up there in order to be able to live close to the land. Another book about the world’s water shortage called When the Rivers Run Dry makes me anxious about running the soaker hose to establish new native plant seedlings during this drought year.

I paddled past a sandbar far enough from the receding shoreline to avoid spooking a crowd of pelicans, herons and cormorants, but close enough to admire them through binoculars. As I rounded a clump of submerging eelgrass, a grand panoply unfolded: thousands of birds lined up single file, all facing the low sun, motionless in pleasure and adoration.

(click on thumbnail then on enlargement for full size panorama)


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