Tag Archives: Coronado Island CA

The Pandemic Pause

By Kimberly Mayer

Approximately four miles off the white sandy coast of Coronado Island in Southern California, sit cruise ships, including Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Eclipse, in anchorage. They’ve been part of the view from here ever since the CDC suspended cruise ship sailings around the US. Every couple weeks one will go into the Port of San Diego for supplies, otherwise they are not going anywhere. On overcast days the ships appear like small far-off islands, and on clear days, like beach toys that floated off. 

Beach toys with all the amenities. Beach toys with staff at a minimum, mainly engineers and captains. Also, ship doctors on board as well as medicines. Beach toys with booming foghorns when they need to make their presence known to other ships at sea. Beach toys waiting out the pandemic in an outer anchorage area managed by the US Coast Guard.

“It kind of harkens back to the 1800’s,” notes Adam Deaton, cruise business manager for the Port of San Diego, “when ports used to provide a secondary function protecting communities and protecting infections from other locales.” (The Coronado Times, 9/01/2020)

Interesting he should say that, for I’ve been feeling nothing but nostalgic during my stay on Coronado—back to a time when my grandparents first began to winter in Naples, Florida. Back when traffic there was light and elderly ladies wheeled big Cadillacs about like boats. My grandmother wore Lily dresses and brightly colored beads there, and when they built their home in Naples, she specified all pink appliances for the kitchen. While my grandfather clad in cardigans insisted on a massive brick fireplace and hearth in the living room, like no other house around. Florida: where every garage was immaculate, and poinsettia plants grew into shrubs or trees, much to my amazement. Where people risked their lives to live where coconuts could fall on their heads and kill them, or so I thought. But somehow it seemed worth it.

Coronado is much like that. The traffic is slow and crosswalk lights, extra long. The children all ride bikes and scooters, residents drive golf carts on the roads, and every dog is picked up after. Where all the ice cream is gelato, parks are aplenty, and everybody’s got the beach. And now I’m the grandparent.

This is the pandemic pause. We’re all on these ships lately, stuck in time and not going anywhere. We can choose to mask up or not, vaccinate or not, but we’re all in this together. The same boat.


Filed under Cruise Ships, nostalgia, pandemic

A Life Seen in Patterns

Photo by Frank James

By Kimberly Mayer

This is how it happens. Day after day, a boy steps out back to pound nails. After a while he decides he’s pretty good at it. The boy grows up to be a carpenter. A young girl hears again and again, “Go to your room, young lady!” and there she hones certain skills. For me it was making mazes. All I needed was a pad of graph paper, pencils with good erasures, and the sanctuary of my room. There, I was free to lose myself–and find myself–in the mazes of my own making. 

In some inexplicable way they meant everything to me.

Like Anna Shechtman who started constructing puzzles at fourteen in “Escaping into the Crossword Puzzle” (The New Yorker 12.20.21), “I retreated into the grid.” Here we found our solace. “A grid has a matter-of-fact magic, as mundane as it is marvelous,” she explains. “From sidewalks to spreadsheets to after-hours skyscrapers projecting geometric light against a night sky, the grid creates both order and expanse.” Anna moved letters onto the page, while for me the squares became paths of entrapment and escape. 

In time Anna became assistant to Will Shortz, crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.  For me, maze making led to the drawing of floor plans and interior design—for aren’t they both about how we move through space? That was the sequence for me, and mazes were my portal. 

I have also lived on a fair share of islands: 

  • St. Thomas, USVI,
  • Manhatten, 
  • Mercer Island, WA 
  • San Juan Island, WA.
  • And this winter, Coronado Island, CA.

At some point, it seems, islands and waterways became the grid.

Will Shortz believes people have a natural desire to fill empty spaces. I see the empty spaces as paths. Both order and expanse, entrapment and escape. And how we move through space.

The way land breaks up and becomes inlets and seas and islands, one after the other, 

like jigsaw pieces when the box is first emptied and all the pieces turned over. 

For what are islands but broken land?


Filed under floor plans, Islands, Mazes, patterns