Cambrian: Opinion

John Brannon: The calm after the storm

Water, waves, gulls and people meet at the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek after a series of storms roll through.
Water, waves, gulls and people meet at the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek after a series of storms roll through. PHOTO BY MERLE BASSETT

As alternating storms paid us visits during the past couple of weeks, I followed my daily routine of spending some time at the Moonstone Beach parking lot, overlooking Santa Rosa Creek, as I have for 27 years. At my elbow is a steaming cup of coffee; on the dash is a delicious goodie from the bakery. Today it is a fresh, aromatic cinnamon roll. Friends are still talking about the cloudburst that made its presence known recently. Joan said that while returning from the Cookie Crock, she could hardly see the truck in front of her because of the wind-driven downpour.

Showers this morning cancelled my scheduled tennis game, but by late afternoon there is not a cloud in the sky. However, there is no sky; it looks more like a backdrop of gray muslin over the turbulent ocean.

Santa Rosa Creek was no more than a stagnant lagoon a few weeks ago. But today, it is a muddy creek rushing to the mother sea; strollers on the far side of the stream will have to return to their cars by walking through Shamel Park. The creek is too broad and turbulent for them to ford.

I can hardly wait to visit Salmon Creek Falls near Ragged Point and feel the ground shake under my feet.

Hundreds of gulls alternate flying in formation over where the creek and ocean meet or gather on the dark sand, facing into the wind, like so many gray and white statues.

When the big storm struck on the morning of the 20th, I recalled childhood memories of my mother’s fear of thunder and lightning. She would put down her ubiquitous knitting needles, assume a fetal position on the couch and bury her head under a heavy pillow. Poor woman.

As I ran my morning errands in the pelting rain and stiff wind one day, I drove into East Village and discovered Grammy

Swanson at her regular station at the foot of her driveway. Sitting in her lawn chair, dressed in layers and wearing a heavy coat, 92-year-old Grammy held tightly onto her umbrella (the wind turned it inside out during one outburst) and waved to the horn-honking cars passing by as she has for more than 15 years—a warm ray of sunshine on a miserable January day. About the only time she missed her routine was when she was walking across a field and a bull ran over her, fracturing her pelvis. Bless her.

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