The Clattering Seep at Lizard’s Mouth

Apologies offered for the vertical video syndrome.

You’ve heard of the babbling brook.

Everybody’s written about it.

Well, meet here the clattering seep.

I’m fascinated by small things in nature other people are oblivious to and even when clued into have no interest in.

The severe drought from about 2011 until now instilled in me a new appreciation and interest in water and hydrology in the Los Padres National Forest of Santa Barbara County.

We were up at Lizard’s Mouth a few days ago and I was standing on the rocks and I heard a clicking or clattering sound. I zeroed in on the location of the source and came to stand atop a large boulder balanced over a huge crack in the sandstone bedrock outcrop, which waters runs through during active rain events.

I could see tufts of ferns sprouting from the cracks in the rocks down below surface level of the overall outcrop of Lizard’s Mouth. The boulder had come to rest like a roof over the split in the bedrock that had pulled apart through the millennia and had formed a sort of room or subterranean grotto. A handful of people can fit in the grotto and stand.

Standing on the boulder and listening to the clatter and looking down into the grotto I thought it might have been a frog making the sound, as the niche down there was obviously moist and protected.

I scampered down into the crack, got down on all fours, pulled back a fringe of ferns and found that a small hole blowing bubbles was responsible for the noise.

Apparently water was seeping through cracks and fissures in the bedrock and pushing air along and forcing it out of the hole.

This was remarkable being that this seep is less than a stone’s throw from the very crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

In other words, the seep drains a small area. It’s not low down in the canyon with a large source from which to draw where one might expect runoff to be trickling out of the mountain for months after winter rains.

This was the crest of the mountain in late May. That’s something.

A few minutes after I had hopped out of the grotto and walked away my eldest daughter called out to me telling me to come over and check out what she had found.

She too had heard and found the clattering seep, observant and tuned in to the nuances and subtleties of the natural world around her like her father.

Situational awareness. Acute consciousness. Sentience.

To be alive, fueled by a mind ravenous with interest, keenly perceiving nature through senses honed from immersive, visceral, intimate personal experience.

We do all we can to avoid that state of dulled, oblivious indifference common to the post-modern dweller of the metropolis.

We like the little things.

The seep was located center frame there in the dark void beneath the boulder.

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6 Responses to The Clattering Seep at Lizard’s Mouth

  1. Erik says:

    Lovely post Jack.

  2. Barefoot Ted McDonald says:

    It never ends. So much good. Thanks for sharing this little tidbit. Greatly appreciate your writing and insights.


  3. richard nagler says:

    This may be a source of the Cauldron at Slippery Rock which was full all through the draught.

    Rich Nagler

  4. David Shearer says:

    Perhaps that leads to a cave…hmmm.

  5. Lila Henry says:

    Lovely. Thanks for the video with sound.

  6. great post, magic spot. can you imagine living in these hills a couple thousand years ago? I dream, I dream…

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