WPC: Threes – A Story of the Sea

With the merry sound of Friday’s catchy little number no doubt still ringing in your ears (*grins mischievously*) and hoping that the weekend was good to you, I thought that my take on this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge would follow on nicely as you will see. The theme is ‘Threes’, defined as ‘telling a three-picture story’.  I have used three slightly different photographs of the same view which I hope fits the challenge.

Here is my story:

Beach at Montana De Oro, Los Osos, California (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Beach at Montana De Oro, California
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

This is a view of a beach at a little place called Montana De Oro, a State Park on the Central Coast of California.  The name means ‘mountain gold’ and is so named after the wildflowers which grow in the park.  I have very special memories of this park and the beach as it is only two miles south of a small town called Los Osos which is where I moved to in 1986, leaving behind my family and friends in England to start a new life with my three-year old little boy and his father.

We spent many an afternoon down by the cove as seen here, my little boy loving to climb the rocks, his favourite activity. We also loved to look for tide pools and I always came home with my pockets full of pebbles, bits of seaweed and hermit crab shells.  Treasures from my son.

Broader view of the beach and coastline at Montana De Oro, California (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Broader view of the beach and coastline at Montana De Oro, California
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

This view is more panoramic.  The road from Los Osos to Montana de Oro is winding and narrow and as you can see my vantage point from where I took these photos is fairly high up.  Notice a few of those wildflowers in the lower right of the photo?

We lived in Los Osos for five years, it was the perfect place to raise a family.  We went on to have our second son Nicky (as some of you already know him) and he too loved to paddle about in the sea and collect his treasures, even trying to copy his big brother in scaling the rocks.  He was just a bit too young though; we moved a little further inland when he was two years old, my daughter (Aspie D) yet to arrive on the scene.

Photo taken by my friend of me filming the beautiful Pacific ocean (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Photo taken by my friend of me filming the beautiful Pacific ocean
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Here is the last part of this story.  You can see that I am even higher up the road and I am filming with a camcorder so that I can remember this day with not only photographs but also with the sounds of the sea.  I took these photos in April last year when I returned ‘home’ to California after a ten-year absence for a two-week visit with Aspie D.  She stayed with her father near Los Angeles and I stayed with a dear friend in Los Osos, mere minutes away from where I had once lived some 28 years ago.

This is the view from my summerhouse today; from this breathtaking vista I see shadows dancing in the sunlight, shadows of my little boys running along the beach pushing the sand between their toes and trying to catch seagulls.  From this view I hear their untroubled laughter ringing out, carried along by the sea-breeze straight into my heart where it lives still, never to be forgotten.

This view tells me that though the years have passed by and my life has changed irrevocably, I am blessed to be still standing and I am here to tell you my three-picture story.

“I dropped a tear in the ocean, and whenever they find it I’ll stop loving you, only then.”  – Anonymous

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, My California, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to WPC: Threes – A Story of the Sea

  1. lilkaraphael says:

    I’m glad you could return to California with the love for its beauty still in your heart. There is nothing that compares to the roar of the Pacific. Thanks for sharing your pictures and taking me back there. Have a wonderful week!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, nothing like the roar of the Pacific that’s for sure. It was wonderful to be back there after being away for ten years. Thank you Lilka and I’m glad that I was able to take you back there for a few moments… 🙂

      Like

  2. Steve Rebus says:

    Beautiful photos Sherri, Looks lovely and sounds like you have some great memories too! 🙂

    Like

  3. I love that penultimate paragraph – it’s poignant for what has gone but hopeful about what will always be remembered. Lovely photos and another warm look into your life, but it’s that paragraph that will stay with me, because it says what is important about the way memories stay with us.

    Like

  4. Your pictures engage my senses. I hear the birds and smell the ocean. I’ve never seen the real ocean so this is a nice substitute. 😀

    Like

  5. A Maine Mama says:

    What an intimate glance into mommy memories! The views are beautiful and the images you create, especially being that I have boys and also have memories of laughter and beach and sand and dancing shadows, are wonderful and familiar! Love it…well done!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed this post and that it brings back your own mommy memories of your boys when they were little and dancing in the shadows on the beach. Thanks so much MM, I appreciate your lovely comment very much 🙂

      Like

  6. Steven says:

    Wow… such powerful and beautiful memories wrapped up in these photographs. Is there any better sound than untroubled laughter at the seaside?

    Truly lovely stuff 🙂 looks like an amazing place!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…untroubled laughter indeed. No better sound in the whole world…thanks so much JG, glad you enjoyed the pics and yes, it is a beautiful little beach but it is also quite wild, very different to the beaches down south, you know the ones of fame like Santa Monica and Venice Beach. The coastline gets more craggy the further north you go along the Pacific West coastline, not too dissimilar to Cornwall or Wales actually…I was amazed when I first discovered it 🙂

      Like

      • Steven says:

        It certainly looks more of an adventure playground than any beach I’ve been to! Would’ve had a riot there as a young’un 🙂

        This whole post and the memories within it were reminding me of a poem, and I’ve remembered what it was! ‘Akaroa Cannon’, by Pam Ayres. Beautiful stuff, pulls at the heartstrings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBGIK6ujxWQ

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Well, you’ve done it now JG, what a beautifully moving poem by our dear Pam Ayres. I’ve never head this before and it made me cry at the end as that is just how I felt when writing this post, indeed, when I was there last year, standing on the very spot where once upon a time I watched my boys run and play. The loss is cutting the wind colder but still those memories fill the void. Thanks so much for sending this link. Really does pull at the heartstrings…wow…

          Like

  7. What a beautiful place. What a gift to spend time there. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      A true gift indeed, thank you Tracy. As homesick as I was in missing my family back ‘home’ in the UK, living here helped greatly, I feel privileged to have raised my boys there for a few years once upon a time….

      Like

  8. Heyjude says:

    Childhood is so fleeting, all mine are in their thirties now, but I still remember those sunshine days of running free on the sand, poking sticks into rock pools and screaming with joy as a wave catches their toes! Lovely post Sherri, lovely memories.
    J xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, it really is isn’t it? It doesn’t seem it at the time though and then suddenly our children are all grown up. My boys are 31 and 25 but we never forget those days of freedom spent by the sea with our young children do we?
      Thank you Jude, I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 xx

      Like

  9. tieshka says:

    Hi Sherri- great story- great photos! I can’t wait until spring break myself when we head back to Northern Cal. We will spend a few days in Pismo Beach- not far from Los Osos. If you have any suggestions on things to do in the area let me know! Also my girlfriend is from Los Osos; her dad still lives there! It is a small world.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Tieshka, we used to go to Pismo Beach all the time when we lived in Los Osos so I know it very well! What a small world, wow. I wonder who your friend’s dad is? I knew a lot of people there from school, church and our neighbourhood and my friend still lives there so I wonder if I know him? Pismo has a great beach which you can drive on in parts – Steve McQueen used to race his cars there (my hero, swoon!) and of course great fish restaurants. Oh I wish I could come with you…

      Like

      • tieshka says:

        Do you know the Mueller’s by chance?

        I forgot about all the seafood on the coast! Yeah… Max & I are both seafood freaks… counting the days until we leave LA! Our hotel in Pismo has an ocean view too.. us beach people just can’t get enough of the ocean.

        I hope your book is coming along! I’m making great progress- FINALLY!

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          That name doesn’t ring a bell, but I’ll ask my friend next time I speak with her!
          Oh you will have a wonderful time at Pismo.
          I’m getting there, a little each day, and glad you are too, wonderful 🙂

          Like

  10. Wonderful story! I am going to enjoy visiting your blog again. 🙂 I would love to do a painting of that second ocean picture you posted if you wouldn’t mind. I love painting the ocean. I live in Northern California near Redding. I’ve been here for 13 years now.
    Please visit my blog as well, at http://whitefeatherfloating.wordpress.com.

    Like

  11. jennypellett says:

    A great triple shot of one of your treasured places Sherri, and a lovely heart warming story to go with it. That coastline is beautiful – though it could almost be Cornwall! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      A treasured place indeed Jenny, glad you enjoyed it, thanks so much. Yes, I was struck when I first moved over there how the further north you go along the Pacific coastline the more wild it becomes and I thought just the same as you – could be Cornwall or even Wales! We loved going to these kind of beaches when the children were small and the dog loved it too 🙂 Many happy memories…

      Like

  12. You are indeed a talented photographer, Sherri. You’re photos are beautiful and they bring back memories of my trip to California many year ago.
    I have to ask, when you wrote “We went on to have our second son Nicky (as some of you already know him)” were you tempted to mention, Jenny? 🙂 I thought of her as soon as I read that line.
    Great job, Sherri!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos although I’m very humbled by your lovely compliment as I just point the camera the same as the next person! I would love to hear more about your trip to California, hint hint!
      Oh and yes, I was tempted to add in a line about Mrs Robinson but thought better of it, for the time being… lol 😉 xo

      Like

  13. What a lovely beach location! How lucky you were to spend a portion of your life there and to be able to return last year. I always find it comforting coming back to a familiar place that feels like it hasn’t changed even if you have.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Heather, and yes, it is a beautiful place indeed. It had been 20 years since I last visited Montana de Oro. Yet it was as if I had never left…

      Like

  14. Rachel says:

    It looks very pretty, Sherri. I’ll never visit California. I’m sure you can guess why. I’m reluctant to even fly to Europe from NZ via LA, which is the quickest route. In some cases the stopover is only for a couple of hours but I know I’ll feel anxious about being there, especially with the airport so close to the sea. It does look very nice though.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes – earthquakes!! I was terrified of them when I first moved there as you know and felt a few big ones which scared the living daylights out of me but what you went through was horrendous so I don’t blame you one bit. At least you get to see some photos on my blog and I’m glad you enjoyed seeing them…from a safe distance 🙂

      Like

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  17. Imelda says:

    Your post is so full of nostalgia. I like your pictures, but here, they are overshadowed by the memories that you shared with us. 🙂

    Like

  18. mithriluna says:

    This is lovely. I love that area of California.

    Like

  19. bulldog says:

    This was a great story.. and great pictures… sounds like there’s a lot of love there Sherri… love it…

    Like

  20. A profound narrative which gives life to the photographs, beyond their natural beauty and allows us see this vista through your eyes, and hear your experiences.
    I applaud you.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much CM. As you view this beautiful vista through my eyes you capture the love that flows from my heart for days spent with the children then and still spend with them now, no matter which side of the ocean we stand on … xo

      Like

  21. Beautiful images with a very heart-warming story. Los Osos sounds like a magical place. A perfect place to raise kids and create priceless memories. I will be seeing my sister in California this March and it’ll be awesome to see this place. She is in Sonoma. Is that far? There is an ocean state park close to her city but I’ve yet to check it out and create 3 picture stories when the time comes. Thanks. Best of blessings to you and your family.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much IT, so glad you enjoyed this post and I’m looking forward to your ‘threes’ post. Los Osos is a wonderful place to raise a family. We lived there because my now ex-husband worked at the prison in nearby San Luis Obispo and I was so happy that we got to do so! We moved further inland to Paso Robles after 5 years which is still only 45 minutes from the coast but more like wine country, so beautiful in a different way. Sonoma is further north, a lovely place which I’ve been to a few times. It’s about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Los Osos so not bad. A lovely drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. How great that you get to visit in March. I was there last April and I wish I could go again this year…
      Blessings right back to you and your lovely family as always… 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks for all these travel tips. I was checking San Luis Obispo a few months back as me and wife wants to relocate back to California. We love Texas but it’s time for the Island Traveler to continue his journey where his heart is telling him. And the wife agrees. God bless you and your family. Perhaps soon I can do a road trip along the pacific coast.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          My pleasure 🙂 How wonderful for you, I do hope all your plans work out. San Luis Obispo is beautiful. Oh now I’m starting to feel homesick for California 🙂

          Like

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  23. jenniferkmarsh says:

    So beautiful! The memories, photos, everything 🙂 That quote is lovely.

    Like

  24. TBM says:

    I do miss the Pacific Ocean. It’s been way too long since I’ve been home. Over 20 years.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I bet you do TB…California gets in your blood and never leaves as you well know since it is your home! This was the first time I had been to Montana de Oro in 20 years…maybe it’s time you took a little trip back soon…

      Like

  25. Sherri, This was perfect for the challenge, perfect place to grow up and a perfect quote to finish off a lovely story. Cheers Irene

    Like

  26. This is such a beautiful place. It actually reminded me of the cove in Gilligan’s Island – and didn’t we all want to be there?

    Like

  27. The three pictures (and the explanations) give a total view, Sherri. The sea is most real for me when I can hear the crashing waves and the sounds of the birds and the grasses flapping in the wind; but there’s also a salty-windswept-algae-watered smell that is uniquely the sea, too.
    Vivid photographs!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes, that salt-pressed air, I can taste it now…and that lovely glowy feeling on your face when you have been by the sea all day and feeling so healthy and calm. Nothing like it is there? Thank you Marylin, I’m glad that you enjoyed the view from my summerhouse today 🙂

      Like

  28. Glynis Jolly says:

    I missed that park somehow when I was out there. How beautiful.

    Like

  29. Had to come see if your comment section worked properly, Sherri – and I was treated to some lovely ocean! I’m such a fool for an ocean connection that, years ago, when I moved to a place where nobody knew me, I renamed myself “Shel.” I wanted to combine ‘ocean’ and ‘shell’ but I kept coming up with things like “Ocel” (whether soft or hard ‘c,’ not good) and O’Shell (calls for an Irish brogue). So I settled for ‘Shel’ – had the sound but was more unique than “Shell.” Or so I thought until I learned that people named ‘Sheldon’ had been using that moniker for years!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      How lovely to see you here Shel, thanks for coming over. As you can see, your comment is here safe and sound. Great to know that you enjoyed this post in the process!

      Well, you certainly do have an ocean connection with your name, you made me laugh with your little story, love it 🙂 I like your name Shel and didn’t think twice about it, although if I heard it rather than read it I might have thought it was a nickname for ‘Michelle’ perhaps.

      My name is just that, Sherri, not short for anything, yet I do get asked quite often by those who don’t know me if it is short for Sheridan!! As if… 😉 My Irish grandmother came up with it so the story goes. Growing up in England I was the only one with this name but it was a different matter when I moved to the States where I was amazed to find it was much more popular!

      I will pop over to see you now… 🙂

      Like

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  31. Great pictures, well supported by some nice musings.

    Having lived on coastlines for more than two decades, your post so resonates. What is about the sea that sparks that restlessness within us I wonder?

    Shakti

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Shakti for visiting and reading this post, so glad that you enjoyed it. I have always lived within 30 minutes of the sea and couldn’t imagine not being close by, like you! The raw beauty of the coastline, wherever it is, captures a natural creativity that resonates with our primal need to keep moving forward I think. It is both treacherous and beautiful and so demands that we don’t rest. Perhaps that is what happens when we stand in awe before it 🙂

      Like

  32. restlessjo says:

    Shakti taking my name in vain, I see 🙂 Through the comments I learned what I was about to ask, Sherri. You separated from your husband. Sad, but you sound like you’re in a happier place now. I’m glad to hear it. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha, so it would seem! Yes, sadly we divorced after 22 years of marriage. We had a difficult marriage from the start but we also shared some happy years and a big part of my heart and soul still lives in California where I brought up my children and my ex and I are friends now.

      Now I live in Somerset with my lovely hubby, Aspie daughter and two cats (oh, and one corn snake called Charlie which she keeps in a vivarium in her room!) She hopes to visit her dad in CA this year with her brother, my middle boy, and my eldest son is going out there in a few weeks with his girlfriend. Who knows, maybe they will pay a visit to Montana de Oro!

      Thank you Jo, I appreciate your kind words very much 🙂

      Like

  33. Pingback: Sherri’s Ocean | Patsy's Creative Corner

  34. Aspie Story says:

    Stunning photos of a beautiful scenery! I always love looking at the ocean, it’s very calming. Must have been nice to return there last year. I believe I said it before, but you really take good pictures! 🙂 Thank you for sharing them with this story.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Darren, what a lovely compliment but not so sure I deserve it with all those amazing photographs out there, yours included! The ocean is indeed very calming.

      It was wonderful to be back there, certainly stirred up a few emotions though. I went past our old house, where the kids went to school, our old neighbourhood, everything. I’m glad I did it but it does pull at the heartstrings. I’m so glad you enjoyed this little story 🙂

      Like

  35. thirdhandart says:

    Beautiful photos that tell a lovely story Sherri. I can almost picture your little boys running on the beach at Montana De Oro. It must have been wonderful!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Theresa and yes, it was wonderful to go back and then to be able to share this little story here. The memories came flooding back just writing it. We never forget those days do we, when our children were once upon a time so small and free…

      Like

  36. Ah California! Gorgeous pics, Sherri.

    Like

  37. Nice nostalgia and beautiful pictures!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Donna, so glad you enjoyed it. I felt very nostalgic writing this and looking at these photos again. I can’t believe that it’s been almost one year since I was last there, it was over in a flash as these things so often are…

      BTW, the middle photo is the one that Patsy painted 🙂

      Like

  38. Yeeahhh, CaliForNia, baby!”

    Sherri, I thought you would make a great participant in the Race, for the cultures you are well versed in. Info in the latest post. I’d be happy to promote your blog. =)

    Like

  39. Y. Prior says:

    great photos – and wow – time does fly 28 years ago – whew – well how nice to go back – and even better to get some video to bring back with you! great idea. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It sure does Y…too fast for my liking but there it is. That’s why I’m so glad I take photos wherever I go! You know, I still need to look at the video I took that day. Maybe I’m afraid it will make me too homesick for another time…
      Thank you as always for your lovely comment 🙂

      Like

  40. Seyi sandra says:

    Well Sherri, I always have my cup of tea and biscuits while reading your posts because, I know I’m in for a treat, and I wasn’t disappointed! Awesome pictures! I also love California!! :):) Now the sea is calling me… 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, I love that Seyi, what a wonderful vision I have in my mind of you doing just that 🙂 California…yep, that Pacific Ocean is calling me too! Have a lovely weekend my friend 🙂 xx

      Like

  41. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story through your beautiful writing. I think part of you story I can relate to — when we move away from Colorado. Life is a journey…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Amy, life is indeed a journey. I am so glad to know that this story moved you and that you can relate to it. Looking at your photos you live in a beautiful place (I’ve never been to Colorado) but since you are moving, yes, you will experience many emotions even as the years go by. Thank you so much for your lovely words, it means a great deal to me 🙂

      Like

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