At the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains, an old house stoically faces the San Saba vineyards - and it's almost certain fate - about a mile from the renovated Soledad Mission. Those who lived in the house, and whatever dreams they dreamed there, have long been absent from the crumbling structure, shabbily playing out its days in the winter of its discontent. Perhaps the house was once a paradise for its inhabitants. Now it sits somewhere east of Steinbeck's Eden.
"I've never lived as you do, but I know what you mean. When the night is dark--why, the stars are sharp-pointed, and there's quiet. Why, you rise up and up! Every pointed star gets driven into your body."
- from The Chrysanthemums
These aptly named wildflowers are Holy Shooting Stars, not Chrysanthemums. They put in an appearance when conditions in the mountains are moist. As soon as the land begins to dry out, the little shooting stars begin to fade away. We found clumps of them, both purple and white varieties, in the Santa Lucia Mountains east of the town of Carmel; the were still wet from the previous evening, when a mild rainstorm washed over Steinbeck Country.
Coming out of the mountains we rounded a bend as we drove toward the Salinas Valley. We stopped to enjoy the view, which included patches of golden poppies, perhaps the most regal of California wildflowers, were sparse here. Those in bloom we could see were, already closed for the day, because a cool wind was blowing down the canyon. Mustard, though, grew in profusion, and captured our attention as we gazed up at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Fountain at the Carmel Mission
The confines of the interior courtyard at the Carmel Mission led themselves to quiet contemplation. On a quiet day, in this courtyard, only the sound of the water drops, escaping with the help gravity from the underside of the fountain, can be heard.
Statue at the Carmel Mission
Jelly Fish - Monterey Aquarium
Water Sprites at the Monterey Aquarium
Wonder Wave at the Montery Aquarium
Nightfall at Pacific Grove