But this visual reward was always preceded by another foreshadowing. Except on days when the wind was blowing west, the ocean could always be smelled before it could be seen. In the south bay, there was also the smell which wafted from the sewerage treatment plant at El Segundo, and the smell of the Standard Oil tank farm in the same city. Also, many of the roads in the area were lined with eucalyptus or pepper trees, and their pungent odor was mixed into the brew. But when approaching the beach there would be a certain point, depending on how strong the sea breeze was that day, when the air would become perceptibly cooler, and you would catch the first faint scent of those unmistakable marine odors.
The smell of seaweed remains strong in my memory, but the sight of the horizon and the mass of glittering green water heaving up is the thing I remember most. To this day, whenever I go up a hill beyond which I see only sky, I get an odd, brief expectation that, when I get to the top, the ocean will appear.