S A R I S H A K U R U P
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” Growing up in the suburbs of Northern California, houses nestled among tech companies and expressways, I never could fully comprehend that. The first time that I really felt nature, felt connected to the land, was when we took a weekend trip to Half Moon Bay. The meandering coastline, the vast, endless ocean--it all made me catch my breathe. I knew, distantly, that there were parts of the world that looked this way, but to see it in person, to plant your feet down and exist in the presence of such beauty, was something else entirely.
Ever since then, whenever I can, I have tried to make my way up there. Something about the drama of the landscape has always stirred the writer in me. Passing all the Christmas tree farms and pumpkin patches to make my way to the Ritz Carlton, which sits serenely on the bluffs overlooking the ocean--it's all a bit dreamlike. The movement of the ocean, the ever-present crashing of the waves, so steadfast, reminds me that I cannot imagine not living by water.
This Friday, I found myself there in Half Moon Bay again, for a short time. We drove out in a torrential downpour, hoping throughout the drive that the weather might clear, if only a little, by the time we ventured out for a coastal walk. I have always loved the rain, the melancholy nature of it, and so I was not praying for sun, only less water.
We found our way to the hotel, which has always looked half-White House, half-sea side home to me, handed off our keys to the valet, and made our way to the restaurant, The Conservatory. We watched the rain pour onto the bluffs and into the ocean as we ate, and it was one of those days where it feels so wonderfully warm and safe inside. Just as we were finishing up, it stopped raining, so we slipped outside to walk along the coast. The wind pulled at our hair and faces but it was a feast for the senses nonetheless.
Later we made our way to the town, where boutique stores, bakeries, and art galleries line a little two-way street. I've always thought that painting landscapes was somehow not as important as other art because it didn't seem to me to be saying anything more than "this is pretty," but some of the paintings we saw were just so beautiful that I understood the urge to want to capture this in ink and oils. We stopped to purchase some olive oil in a store lined with barrels before stopping for some coffee and pecan pie before we left.
Just as we were driving out of the town we spied a little roadside farm and pulled over. The tomatoes were redder, the grapes more succulent, and the honey sweeter. We left overflowing.