Went for a Walk: The blog post

Went for a walk today. I’m wary of direct sunlight, but I figure it’ll keep me from mouldering.

I worry about it sometimes—mouldering, I mean. I started working from home three-plus years ago, so it’s a valid concern. The quiet solitude fits my temperament a little too well, and I can easily pass hours and days forgetting the outside world exists and even forgetting that I am corporeal and need certain things. Like vitamin D. Or exercise.

A little human contact doesn’t hurt either, despite lifelong suspicions to the contrary. There are plenty of humans to encounter around here, too, mostly tourists. I’ve even learned to set my watch by who’s here and when.

In the summer, it’s families. Then the start of the school year thins the herd, and it’s easier to spot all the boomers in RVs, the locals, the foreign travelers. The latter I enjoy most because I can walk to the pier and play “Identify the Language.” Today it was German, Japanese, and some guttural Slavic thing. (There’s always Spanish too, por supuesto, but that’s hardly foreign.)

View of the compass painted on the Pismo Beach pier at sunset.

I can also set my watch to the sun, and that’s maybe my favorite part of being here—learning the patterns of the natural world. Around winter solstice, the sun sets at the very end of the pier, and I like to walk straight towards it as the day dies. In summer, it sinks behind Avila Ridge, and I imagine it high-fiving the nuclear reactor in Diablo Canyon as it sets. Fusion solidarity, bro.

Today, I don’t really care where the sun is. It’s boring sky season. It’s hot and dry, and there are never any clouds in the sky this time of year so every sunset looks the same. So does every day.

So I like to go out with the tides, as that’s the only thing that’s ever changing. During the new and full moons, gravity sucks the tide way out and the sea caves that are normally filled with water on the north end of the beach are accessible by foot. I ate an edible one time, and wandered into one. Someone had carved “Kelly” years prior below the now-evacuated waterline, and it nearly broke my brain.

The name "Kelly" carved into the wall of a sea cave at sunset.

There were no sea caves today, though. Just a brisk walk down to sea level from my front door to the end of the pier and back. Enough to get the blood moving. Enough to jar my mind from its ever deepening grooves. Enough to make me feel like it’s okay to return to my virtual cave and to my word processor. Hello.

Kelly Joi Phelan
A girl is no one.

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