By Randy Cox

Photo Courtesy of Randy Cox

Strolling up the beach from Haskell’s Pier, past dell-like Driftwood, along the long, open vistas of Naples, and then beyond to El Capitan and Refugio State Parks together comprise an entry into our local coastal paradise, in reality a physical and spiritual refuge, that needs our constant protection – the Gaviota Coast. 

A relatively short distance below, and mostly out of eye-shot of the 24/7 tumult of California Highway 101, lies open this sandy ribbon of almost transcendental beauty – azure and cyan seas; foaming, clamoring surf; sultry, slippery seagrass and kelp; sudden sea rocks serving sentry to gloriously busy tidepools; painted-desert colored sandstone cliffs; a scattered beach scree underfoot of ship flotsam, midden shells, and an occasional sea polished glass jewel. 

This startling abundance of Nature’s most unique gifts are watched regularly from above by curious, squawking gulls and less loquacious pelicans and other seabirds gliding on the seasonally directed wind currents common to this vital stretch of coastline.

Cerebrally, there are clearly transcendental forces awake here that are able to more than fully satisfy the visitor of keenest imagination and searching mind.

In fact, this kind of majesty must have driven the great 19th Century English romantic poet and social reformer, Percy Shelley, to exclaim in ecstasy at similar natural wonders in the Vale of Chamonix: “The everlasting universe of things / Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves…And what were earth and stars and sea, / If to the human mind’s imaginings / Silence and solitude were vacancy?”

One can only guess at what words Shelley would write today if he were able to visit our magnificent Gaviota Coast. For all who can, please show Shelley’s same spirit of generosity and grace in helping to support and preserve this rare natural sanctuary to enjoy and explore both for today and for future generations to come.

Photo Courtesy of Randy Cox

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