The clock reads 4:20 across the room. I should have a joke here, but I don’t. It’s 4:20 a.m. and I can’t get back to sleep, so I guess the joke is on me. My brain spins, a habitual problem, especially lately, and finally I decide to derail the thought train by writing. Right after checking the app that shows me Nick’s blood sugar (good!), feeding the cat, stoking the fire, making coffee.

I trip over Skimble – our 20-year-old orange cat named after a character in Cats the Musical – as he’s lying in the middle of the doorway instead of in his posh heated bed where he normally spends his time. I apologize by giving him an extra 30 seconds of scritches before fetching the mashed sardines he likes to start his day with.

A little air, some kindling, a piece of soft wood, the fire glows right back to life.

I grind the beans and boil the water on autopilot, look at the buoy numbers while I wait for the kettle to whistle, pour some Silk soy creamer in my coffee once made. One sip and the mug’s contents go into the sink. I’d placed a drive-up order at Target, a pandemic habit that has served me well, except when they substitute something without approval, like a flavored soy creamer instead of the full-fat Oatly unflavored oat milk I’d dropped in my virtual cart. Or a Dr. Pepper instead of GT’s watermelon kombucha. Fortunately I still have some Costco oat milk, which suffices for this second attempt, and that brings us up to now.

My arm aches a bit where the booster shot went in, but so far, so good. I might be experiencing the side effect of fatigue, but who can tell when I’m weary much of the time anyway? At least I slept okay before waking up too early. Like many women, chronic insomnia haunts me nightly. Lately this pain in my hip – something to do with my piriformis aka my butt (!!!) – adds to the problem. My current bedtime routine involves .5 ml of THC tincture, generous dollops of magnesium foam and arnica, many ibuprofen. Sometimes I swap out the THC for my old stand-by of Xanax, which is most effective for sleeping with no noticeable side effects, but the THC helps with the pain. I try to take enough for that, not so much the cotton mouth becomes unbearable.

Lest I sound like a old person whose aching body makes up the bulk of her conversation, let’s revisit last weekend, a two-day span that included restoration work at Houda Point, a hike, a surf, kayaking on the bay and lunch with friends, a full novel read, a Christmas tree purchased.

I joined the board of the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust back in June. They were looking for board members and I was looking for reasons to leave the peninsula, something I did less and less as the pandemic settled in. Since I work from home, surf on the spit, hike in the neighborhood forest and can count on Bobby to grab groceries on his way home from his construction gig, I rarely have reason to venture into town other than the occasional aforementioned Target drive-up run. A sweet situation for sure, but the opportunity to trade windswept sand dunes for rocky bluffs and sea stacks on occasion appealed. Also, I learned to surf at Camel Rock and taking care of Houda Point is a way to say thank you.

Which is how I would up with loppers (the tool may have a more accurate name) in my hands clearing the path that leads around the point to provide elevated views of the ocean. Saturday’s work day took place during the king tides, meaning the beach to the south – I know it as Gremmie Cove – had disappeared under waves rebounding off the cliff side. Down Moonstone way, seawater erupted through a blow hole every several minutes prompting cries of “Look!” from our work crew. The fog hung on without respite, but the camaraderie created its own form of warmth.

Looking from Houda Point toward Moonstone Beach during the king tide, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021

After, I opted to hike solo from Trinidad State Beach to College Cove and back. Along the way I reveled in the forest beauty and mushroom displays before making the questionable decision to traipse down the trail to the south end of College Cove – questionable because the tide was still high, necessitating several scrambles over the rocks to avoid getting soaked on the way to the north trailhead. I did not wholly succeed, ended up with wet shoes and socks for the hike back along the upper trail, but at least I did not become a Coast Guard rescue story.

Sometimes seeking beauty and adventure leads to iffy decision-making – without that, we’d have no stories to tell. Like all things in life, the trick is evaluating the risks and trade-offs and hoping for good fortune to see you through what you can’t control. I have three children, so even with a bum hip (butt!), clambering over slippery stones alone on a pocket beach while water rushes at me is far from the most dangerous thing I’ve done.

May our luck hold.