The Coaster, cruising over Buena Vista Lagoon
  • The Coaster, cruising over Buena Vista Lagoon
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Through the kind indulgence of the residents and the largesse of friends and loved ones, I have on occasion been allowed to visit St. Malo, a private community of beachside homes situated at the southern edge of Oceanside and modeled after the cottages of their Normandy namesake. I am taken with the “ineffable charm” that the local daily accords it, and content to honor its general policy of privacy. But.

Gray skies ahead for St. Malo?

Gray skies ahead for St. Malo?

I have long held that happy people don’t make art. Merry, mischief, love — they’ll make those; but not art. It’s too much trouble. Happy people spend their time being happy. That was certainly the case with my last two visits to St. Malo. But this year — well, how does the old hymn go? “Change and decay in all around I see…” This year, those old winds of change are roughing up the freshwater looking-glass tranquility of the Buena Vista Lagoon, as SANDAG considers a plan to convert it to saltwater. Among other things, such a plan would make the lagoon subject to the rise and fall of the tides, such that the backyard vista for a sizable number of St. Malo denizens would regularly shift from aquatic idyll to marshy mud flat.

Suddenly, all those private people are seeing their names printed in a public forum, as their impassioned pleas and arguments against such a fate get posted at and Nothing gold can stay, but they’re hoping that doesn’t mean the forced ascendance of brack-brown muck.

The controversy lent a melancholy air to my most recent visit, and the heartbreak of those homeowners started me tinkering with a song — a standard, the sort folks might have listened to nearly a century ago, when St. Malo was new and the future seemed full of freshness.

  • Oh, it’s August in St. Malo
  • But it’s November in my heart
  • And the cocktails never wait for cocktail hour
  • And the morning found me hollow
  • So I got an early start
  • But it ain’t lemon juice that makes this whiskey sour
  • Well a boy from fifty-seven
  • Loved a girl from forty-nine
  • And I thought I had the season on my side
  • But the moon looked down from heaven
  • Gave a tug upon the line
  • And her heart changed with the changing of the tide
  • Now I said I wouldn’t mourn ya
  • Summer ends, so does romance
  • Still I’d like to take my case up with the moon
  • But I’m stuck in California
  • Though it looks a lot like France
  • So my tears will put some salt in this lagoon

It needs a bridge, and maybe one more verse. I’m hoping to have it finished by the time SANDAG votes on the matter, late this year.

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dwbat Aug. 22, 2018 @ 1:41 p.m.

How about this bridge over troubled waters??

Yes, there's changes in St. Malo The dreams have turned to sorrow And time is always shaking up all things We're losing way too soon Our idyllic sweet lagoon As progress moves on always-noisy wings


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Aug. 22, 2018 @ 3:06 p.m.

Idyllic? Come now. It's polluted in nearly every way imaginable. And the fact that it gets no tidal flush makes that a lot worse. The passing train lights may look pretty reflected in it, but Buena Vista Lagoon is essentially an open air cesspool for urban runoff.


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