Is this the calm before the storm? I've been following the increasing number of dire warnings all morning: Coast Guard marine alerts, Weather Service hazardous weather outlooks, high surf advisories, special weather statements. Yet from the windows on the beach, it's still surprisingly calm shortly after lunch.
On the beach, there's a cold breeze, but not terribly so. The ocean is churning, but not as dramatically as I've seen. Even the sound of the curling waves is hushed. Gulls raft quietly just beyond the surf rather than flock noisily at the creek mouth. They are invisible but for the binoculars.
The sky is a monochrome gray from one horizon to the other. Everything appears grainy as if cut from the pages of a pre-color National Geographic Magazine. In moments, the sky is not so much colored as it is textured. Low puffy clouds are parted by distant winds temporarily revealing tightly ribbed clouds higher up.
It is a heavy, repressive gray. The dying leaves of the coastal shrubbery are distant memories of their golden autumn brilliance. The only colors to speak of are the red stripes on the flag over the building, the orange bill of a passing cormorant, and the yellow kayaks trailered on the side of Orick Hill. The mighty redwoods are only dark shadows on the hillside.
As I return to car, the first mists of the anticipated storm dot the windshield. Writing this from the bureaucratic comfort of the office less than 30 minutes later, the rain pours down in sheets across the highway.