I grew up on a little spit of sand in Southern California back when Disneyland hadn’t been invented yet and there were no freeways. The front yard was surf and an endless horizon, the back yard was salt water marsh. Pacific Coast Highway had just a few cars, and the Santa Fe freight train rumbled past every day. We lived in a tiny beach front bungalow perched on stilts, built on pilings driven into the sand. The mudflat at minus tide was the center of my universe.
The ocean was always an immediate presence - the sounds, the vibrations, the oscillations of the tides. One night as we slept, the bedroom floor partially washed out during an especially high winter tide. A neighbor came over the next day and put plywood over the gaping hole where the bed had been. Not the idyllic picture of a sunny beach covered with umbrellas, but the relentless cycles and wildness of that environment formed my true education and my interest in all things marine.
Our little house was torn down a long time ago, and that area is now choked with traffic and pricey stucco boxes. Even though I’ve moved away, everything is imprinted from that time, coloring my work and influencing many facets of my life. These days I live in Northern California about 5 miles from a rocky coastline, in a hand built house at the edge of what was once an old growth redwood forest. At high tide after winter storms, the ocean roars with white noise in the far distance, a homing signal.
In my wanderings, I’m always pulled to that narrow tideline that separates sea and land.
Everything rusts in the salt air. I try to keep it from rusting me.