Friday, July 20, 2012


... is the first in what we hope will be six summer weeks at our Laguna Beach cottage.  The drive down from Los Angeles yesterday was one of the worst on record.  In decent traffic, we take an hour door-to-door.  Yesterday was two hours plus.

No matter.  Now it's a joy to wake up early, take George out for his pee and poop walk and give him his breakfast before heading out to the back patio for a half hour's meditation.  There must be good surf down at the beach this morning, because I could hear the crashing of the waves quite clearly at a few blocks' distance--and of course, the sound of the birds.  They do like a good old natter in the first light of the day.  A special joy to find our hummer family still in contented residence behind the house, and to hear them buzzing around--I like to think curiously--while I sit.

(Our young hummer, center, feeding)

What's absent here is the constant roar of the city that forms the background to daily living in Los Angeles.  We are fortunate indeed to have made the commitment to this retreat, now nearly twenty years ago.  It continues to serve us well, and we are delighted with the prospect of some solid time away.  I have a catalogue text to finish writing and my book, "Slow Looking," to be working on.  And look forward, too, to catching up with some neglected reading.

All is well...  I send wishes that some part of the serenity I experienced in my sit this morning may be shared with every reader of The Buddha Diaries, and with all those facing trouble or adversity in the world.


CHI SPHERE said...

When I was a boy I learned to surf in Laguna and my dad's ashes were released from my brothers boat one mile off the spot where we used to fish together near Dana Point. Before they built the jetty at that spot the surf was amazing and the ocean in 1953 when I was 10 was full of life. Albacore could be caught within a mile of the point. While the area is very populated now it remains one of the most beautiful portions of our coast.

Hummingbirds are very plentiful there as they have always been and, as I'm sure you know, parrots are one of the most frequently heard and seen birds in your community. I don't think there is a palm tree that has not been visited by them in any Southern California coastal community.

The wild parrots flying free in Southern California today are descendants of wild-caught parrots who were imported into the United States before importation was banned and somehow either escaped or were released intentionally. These birds were already well versed in their survival skills and able to establish themselves in areas where exotic plant life is plentiful.

I tried to catch them with primitive traps when I was young and actually caught one with my grandmothers assistance. We made a very large cage for him in her garden and became friends. I released him after a summer and to our surprise he would occasionally return to the open cage to eat her satsuma plums and figs. As you know they can be loud, aggressive and ornery but ours friend "Bo" was remarkably friendly and would love to roll in the beach sand box near her large garden cleaning himself and eating shell fragments.

The humming birds your enjoying must delight dear Luka. Like him they are a wonder and express the beauty of flight like no other creature can. They are the first astronauts as they seem weightless as if they were in outer space defying gravity. If I could return as a bird my first choice would be the hummingbird.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for the memories, Gary. Curiously, I have not been aware of the presence of parrots here in Laguna Beach--though I have seen and heard them in the hills around Los Feliz. I'm sure you must have seen the movie about "The Parrots of Telegraph Hill"? Did you catch my review in The Buddha Diaries, back in 2008? Here's the link, if interested:

Cheers, P

robin andrea said...

I'm glad you have such a peaceful place to return to every year. A wonderful and restorative thing.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thank you, Robin. Hope all's well with you and the family!

Doctor Noe said...

I remember the Telegraph Hil piece, Peter. We had regular parrot visitors to the golf course across the stret in Studio City. I managed to photograph them, and those pics and some I took outside my office at Paramount (they loved the silkfruit trees there) are on my Flickr page.

We are moving to Mission Viejo next week, so ... Let's do lunch, eh?