sailboats It is Saturday, and everything is different at Quivera Basin in San Diego. I came here a couple of days ago to escape the awful heat that was making life miserable a few miles inland. The cool breeze coming off the ocean is just as delightful as ever today, but the atmosphere has changed since yesterday. It is no longer a secret spot for just a few smart and lucky souls. On the weekend, it seems like everybody knows about this place.

I parked for the night a few blocks away and got here this morning before seven to stake my claim on a parking spot for the day. Already, the lot was almost full. A dozen sneaker-clad women met under the picnic pavilion for a group run, fishermen got their gear ready for angling, snorkelers squeaked into wetsuits, and by afternoon, a bride and groom had said their vows in front of assembled guests, quickly posed for photos, and left.


Now, on the crowded water, boats of all kinds glide past: trawlers, sailboats, speedboats, yachts, kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, and big boats jammed with tourists, headed out to sea. The air smells of seawater and vibrates with the sound of diesel engines. Fishing boats are surrounded by clouds of seagulls and pelicans, followed by a barking seal or two.

Everyone, it seems, is out to cram as much fun as possible into the weekend.

Here on land, I sit in a row of cars and trucks pointed at the water and notice I am not the only one just watching others having fun. But even that is fun.

This is all new to me. In spite of my avowed purpose to change my life and be out in nature, I have spent most of the last eleven months indoors — inside LaVanne, looking out. I’ve camped in some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen but when I am outside, I can’t wait to get inside. It’s comfortable in here. It’s my nest, my cocoon. I don’t like to leave it. As I have pointed out before, I don’t like the feeling of the sun on my skin. And I don’t like feeling exposed, without a barrier of some kind — a wall, a curtain, a window — between me and the world.

Like Peter Sellers’ character, Chance, in the 1979 satire, Being There, “I like to watch.”

Is that so wrong?

Fishing boat

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  • SwankieWheels

    No, LaVonne, it is not wrong, it just is what it is. I feel the same way exactly. I was totally beside myself for the six weeks my van was unavailable to me. It felt horrid. I was a displaced person. We each have a different comfort zone. At least at RTR, you do get out and you walk and you inspire others to do it too. That is something. I think without my kayak, I’d be a van-body too. But I love it on the water so much more than I like it in the van. But not active water like you are stalking. I like the calm wilderness waters where there are no other people. And I love the way you write. We are NOT alone.

  • LaVonne Ellis

    Sorry I gave the impression I feel bad. I don’t. I’m just coming to terms with the fact that I don’t really want to be the active, outdoorsy person I’ve always *said* I wanted to be. Walking is about my limit, though I still hope to kayak some more and push myself to try new things. But yes, I do prefer the wilderness, if where I’ve been so far qualifies.

    p.s. Thanks for the compliment! 🙂

  • Linda Barton

    Sweet, I love the ocean I love the water. Land all around for me, you are blessed to be there.BTW I am also content to sit inside timeless and watch the world go by for now

    • LaVonne Ellis

      Yes, Linda — I am blessed to be here. I normally prefer desert or mountain air because humidity drives me a little batty, but the cool breeze coming off the water is very nice indeed. Hope I see you at RTR!

  • Sue Mitchell

    My husband believes he was put on Earth to observe. I do think that observing, analyzing and commenting on the world are important roles for those who have that gift. Clearly you do — look at how you write. You couldn’t write this well if you were busy snorkeling. Noticing details, thinking of just the right word, etc. require careful observation and contemplation. I also think that after raising kids and having a job for many years, a person has earned the right to watch rather than participate.

    I used to be a wilderness adventurer on a regular basis. I have backpacked as much as 14 miles uphill in a single day, skiied up to the climbing base camp on Mt. Rainier and back, and other things that proved my athleticism. But why did I do those things? It was so that at the end of the day, I could sit quietly in a wilderness place and watch the light change on the scenery as the sun set and then wake up to a long leisurely breakfast just observing the natural beauty around me. Nowadays I’m much more likely to skip the physical punishment and just find a pretty place to park. 😀

    • LaVonne Ellis

      I didn’t know that about you, Sue — very cool! And thanks for the support. Much appreciated. <3

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