I do. WE do!
Charming. That sums up Pacific Grove, California. I was going to resist using the word charming and look for a more creative replacement that is just as fitting and less familiar. But no. Instead, I am going full-on Buddhist here and will whole-heartedly embrace the word charming. I will not resist the charm of this place nor marginalize it with an unequal, uncharming replacement. I am so intent on relaying to you the charm of Pacific Grove, that I strive to overuse the frequency to which I incorporate the word charm in this post.
Play along with me. Count the number of times I write the word charm in this post and put your count in the comments section. The first three people to write a number that is closest to the actual number will WIN (drum roll please) a charming Haiku written by yours truly in their honor. This is old school counting, folks. Fingers, tally marks or even an abacus. No fancy techno-cheating allowed. No word count apps or whatever newfangled rigamaroo is out there. Just you and your digits counting charms.
About Pacific Grove aka PG
The French would call is charmant, which could be loosely translated as charmed by an ant or just plain charming ants. With a population of only 15,000 people and a most desirable climate (267 sunny days a year – hello?) along the Central Coast of California, Pacific Grove could easily outcharm any number of other towns with that similar small town feel. What does PG have that other less charming small towns do not have? One word with wings: Monarchs. Monarchs and so much more that I’ll be writing another couple of posts to properly tell you all about PG.
But don’t believe my words, because you know I can be as smooth as charmeuse briefs on a Shady Lady prostidude. Instead, take this free pictorial tour of Pacific Grove and if afterwards you are not completely and utterly charmed, then I’ll eat my hat so long as it’s filled with Lucky Charms and Ricemilk.
Pacific Grove has a downtown that looks like this:
Here in PG, folks live in charming places that look like this…
with charming neighbors who look like this:
Locals drive cars like these:
A walk along the coast feels like this:
Monarch Grove Sanctuary
250 Ridge Road off of Lighthouse Avenue
If you come to PG between September and March, be sure to visit the Monarch Grove Sanctuary managed by the City of PG with interpretative services managed by the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. During those Fall to Spring months, the Monarchs are on their overwintering vacation in PG having flown from anywhere east and north of the Rockies. As a former docent at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, feel free to ask me anything you want about the Monarchs. If I don’t know the answer, I will make something up.
Learn more about these orange and black beauties here or from this article written by a local fellow, Patrick Whitehurst, the communications and marketing coordinator for the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. You can also read a previous post I wrote about the Mariposas Monarcas in Mexico.
Fascinating Monarch Tidbit
The female Monarchs are out there right now ready to lay 300-400 eggs, but they will only do so on Milkweed. A female mommy-Monarch-to-be will fly to her death looking for Milkweed. You can help her by growing Milkweed in your yard especially if you live anywhere north or east of Highway 17.
If you use Roundup or any other neonicotinoid spray on your yard or garden, please stop. There is a direct correlation between the decline of Monarch butterflies and that toxic substance. If it’s killing beneficial insects like Monarchs (all butterflies, really) and other beneficial pollinators like bees, it is likely causing harm beyond our wildest imaginations. When the pollinators are gone, our food is gone. So, just stop. I like food. Please. Pull your weeds, go to the nursery for nontoxic chemical insecticides or just let the damn dandelions grow. Thank you.
Pacific Grove is a temporary home for us, and we’ve enjoyed it immensely. In coming posts, I’ll share some more details about PG including things to experience and the eternally rich world of wildlife here. But for now, here’s an important message from Stella:
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”
~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
If you look up “charming” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it not only has references to strong attraction, but to spells and magic. Then again, what are liars if not great magicians?
~Deb Caletti, The Secret Life of Prince Charming
How much charm did you find?
Hint: I was sneaky with a couple of placements.
Up until today, the word charm could be found in this post 35 times!
The three charming winners of the charm game are:
Heidi, Jean, and my Mom!
Thank you for playing!
Here are your personalized Haiku prizes
Sweetness of Heidi
A woman I can count on
Charm is just your style
A ray of sunshine
Jean, grateful for all you do
Showing up again
I am quite lucky
To have a Mom just like you
So charming and fun
Now, the word charm appears in this blog 43 times!