The wind is ever-present along the headlands of our northern California coast, and while a brisk walk along a sandy beach will do wonders for clearing the mind, one may soon think about finding a few minutes of shelter. The most available is usually some large driftwood log lying half buried in the sand, with a south-facing side. Sitting with your back to the log, soaking in the warmth of the sun’s rays, your stresses fade and new possibilities surface in your thoughts.
Some days, however, the coastal furniture has been almost completely scoured by earlier storms, and those large tree trunks are nowhere to be found. However, as often happens, some industrious sojourners may have visited your beach earlier, and rounded up various smaller trunks and branches and jettisoned planks of fishing boats, and worked to fashion the most intriguing beach architecture. Creeping inside an empty structure–not only does one escape the blustering wind–but an ancient perception, perhaps one imprinted on our DNA in a distant Stone Age, begins to inhabit a sense of being. Once, perhaps, indigenous people did indeed dwell in such primitive structures on these very same beaches, seeking a little warmth. But probably a little further up on the adjacent sand dunes!
Here are a couple of very temporary, warming shelters, protecting a needy beachcomber for a brief pause in walking: