November 26, 2014

Translating to words the sea and tall-tree talk

In Rincon I thought for a sec about going to the beach.  I had a conversation with Konan the night before about surf breaks and it only seemed right.  Everything in me wanted tires on road though and already the 101 was making that certain kind of only-on-101-noise.

The gas station on the right was cheaper by a cent but the cashier in the other one had the night before won me over.  An ESL student with a middle eastern way of averting his eyes which I knew was meant as a form of respect.  The night before I'd asked do you carry tasty cakes and he said, "Excuse me, ma'am, I am only learning english, please repeat the question." We talked about his commitment to learning english and I authentically tried to assure him how successful he already was.  His humility I could actually feel in my heart.  Even though he worked, as he told me, graveyard shift, I still went back to his store in the morning for gas.

I knew there'd be grace then: walking out to my car, in my hand a jug of water and some rugged gloves that were only 2 bucks for later when I camped.   Next to my car a van, the old hippy kind, with a Dead sticker on it.  A guy my age-ish or a little younger came towards me then.  He had the sparkle in his eye and was inside his heart.  I relaxed and smiled big and warm, already had my wallet out…Think you could spare a few bucks he said and then, we're trying to get to San Diego by the night.  I nodded and said a prayer and gave thanks for beneficent road blessings for us both and handed him some cash.

I took the 101north until I saw a sign for Morrow Bay then took that west.  In Morrow Bay it led me down a little access road, it being the magic which by now was back and I had to let it ease through my body in a mild, sweet way a little at a time.  But for sure it led me down this little road with beachfront motels and so I made note, Morrow Bay I will be back.

At the south end of Big Sur I found Sebastian's General Store just past the Piedras Blancas and the Lighthouse of the same name.  Originally my plan had been to get warm lunch there then get north to Kirk Creek.  But in the parking lot it was the feeling of noooo not yet in a soft movement that felt like gentle wind.  So on I went.

I am glad I did that big stretch of the 1.  Big Sur is the only stretch of California coastline on which I'd never travelled.  But then as I got more north I realized wow that isn't true.  In the 90's when my dad lived in San Jose he brought us down that route--me and Sean my brother.  This was probably 1992.

I was saddened by Big Sur because of the invasive fragmite all over the sides of the hill.  As an indicator of the ecosystem a parasite like that, among so much splotches of otherwise bald land, well it told me her health is not well.  I was expecting so much more…green.  Only in the center is there deep green quiet and that stretch lasts only a few miles or so.  I thought more than once, well Kel you're spoiled because you lived on the Oregon coast.  Then realized it's why people keep the magic up there such a secret, it's own private host.  Kirk was all reserved and the other campsites too. I was deeply content already just with my drive and really wanted, needed big trees so anyhow so I turned right in Carmel--which means towards inland--and got a room for $50 when I got to Salinas.
Salinas is mostly Mexican which anyway next to the wealth of Carmel made me feel more at home.  I got tacos and watched the Ravens win on cable.  From there, next morning I got on 1 again and took it towards Santa Cruz.   I got to Big Basin and lost my cell again, which made me happy because it was the final piece of grace towards the silence that I need.

This morning all I could see was no shower with the crisp yum of redwoods still in my hair and curled up some place with poetry and coffee.  So I set out knowing that was it, magic vision flowing like it oughta or useta or is anyway again, and now on the other side of those coastal ranges I landed in the town of Saratoga in a wood floored cafe that roasts their own beans.  I had the most blazin burrito for breakfast even though it was already close to noon.  In this valley where around me the redwoods sing the sound you need absolute quiet to hear--well, yes.  Cozy is the word.

Writing now and will scootch to the corner in a second for a over-stuffed couch and poems and the real work, which is translating to words the sea and tall-tree talk.

Humboldt in the morning, with soul-fam.

As it should be, for Giving Thanks.

November 24, 2014

You know who's outta here?

This grl.

See ya other side of Big Sur.  Travelin mercies and harmony blessings, for all~

November 21, 2014

Muscles that are strong enough

The rain of course, which is a million different creatures depending on who you are relative to the space you inhabit.  This morning it is skeleton fingers on the sky light six feet above my head in the little loft where I sleep--reminding without it we are dust but with too much this canyon could wash away.  As life, a terror or a blessing as well as the washing fluid dance of every nuance in between…

So the rain wakes me at 3:30 on a morning when I need to rise at 5 to leave for school.  And it is peculiar, how the body remembers.  I lay here and for no seeming reason recall December in 2004.  I'd been asleep in my old bed at Ocean Pines.  My boyfriend at the time was in the twin bed beside me, we'd pushed them together to sleep close.  We were living in Oregon on the coast to make money after traveling for five months and had made a harried, stressful trip home for the holidays.

I remember waking up from the most saturated sleep and sighing and thinking, ohh, it was all a dream.

Then waking came, and reminded me that no, I had a return ticket waiting and the rainy season in the mossy Suislaw and the tides of the Alsea rushing in and out to the Pacific were where I would return.  I didn't have a job and neither did he.  We were in that in-between space that feels like life at any minute will bottom out, that panicky place of potential free-fall.

It was just on the other side of following through with everything we'd set out to do--travel North America and live on her land, sleep in the forests, honor nature as our host and our home.  We were faced next with Now What~and it didn't feel good.

Of course, as life does, it moved on and we did with it.  I got a job, so did he, it was hard to cut heart strings when the time came and we travelled on.  But that body memory.

The oh it's not a dream…I got to do this now and don't really know if I can, march all the way through.

How muscles that are strong enough to do the marching actually come from the journey, the steps you take one by one, to get you to move.

Movement itself is the conditioning, what makes you strong.

That's what the rain brought today.  Makes me wonder what's yet and about to come...

November 15, 2014

The noon church bells

The church bells on Forest in Laguna are my favorite part of Saturday stroll. I am sitting downtown, on a bench in the sun. Thinking about how only a 35 mm could capture the light in the fall
or the spring, or winter.  The special summer light of this town. The noon church bells made me stop, sit.  The kind of sit that is more a prayer.  I slept late so there was only half an hour left when I got to market. The man who sold me sundried peaches for my oatmeal hooked me up with cherries and pluton and apricots too. He charged me $3 which was half the price of what it shoulda been. I left there just now with the biggest grin.

It is noon now, in four and a half hours it will be dark.  I haven't even had my second cup of coffee yet--stopped to write on my way to refill.

There's so much right now that can slide on by...unseen. It's extra important to me, then, to just pause a while. In the sun.

November 13, 2014

Love letters, from Laguna.

The coffee shop I like to go to is on PCH. When I first moved here from HB coffee shop was the very first thing I looked up.  You can sit in the alley and see and speak with the sea.  A corner away is the beach where at the top of the street an oak tree stands so great-big and enchanted I am certain you can get to Avalon through there.  Seriously, there's even a random statue of Pan on that corner which always makes me think about the artists then hippies that mapped this town.  Supposedly, Ken Kesey lived on my street decades ago when it was a commune.  There is an unfinished, always under construction straw-bale sprawling mansion which is the first house on the right and most times when the man is up there under the tarp with the yellow light on slapping on some earthen adobe I think of that.  The free love vibes that built all the funky houses, tucked away back in the canyon where I live.  The folks in and around town comfy-clothed with the little lippy smiles that embody that, still.

Sometimes people in their frenzy get under my skin which is what happened yesterday.  I was in the alley fusing creative writing with thesis research and had really dropped in to the flow.  This hetero couple shows up, he was loud, she louder and that's one of the first things I learned to hate about Southern California.  The obnoxious warm-up suit men with too white teeth, yoga pants women with fake tits fake face or at the least fake blonde hair.  These people always talk too loud and are purposefully drawing attention to themselves.  Often they have a little annoying fuckn dog.

Our coffee shop almost never gets these types, who in my experience don't take the time to meander and sip and stare at the sea.  Anyhow I got up from the alley as soon as they sat down and went inside to the high top in the window.  It had just cleared out and the man was there, beginning the afternoon ritual of roasting the beans.  It's the only coffee shop I've ever been a regular at that roasts their own.  The whir noise and knee-deep smell has become part of the atmosphere for me of love.

It was a little after four so the sun was muted by the horizon clouds.  Hazy orange light came through the front window in a slant from the blind pulled half down.  I was writing and thought I saw a guy I knew.  It started me thinking about how many men I've dated since I've been here.  A lot.  Real, adult dating.  I don't drink so not talking hook-up or first night sex followed by oh shit what next.  But like, I meet men on the beach or out and about or for a while on the dating site and then the customary phone calls and get to know you dates.

A face from the past was on my radar yesterday, we talked for a few minutes about how much we have in common because of our beach lifestyle.  He made me think about this.  Specifically:  I have dated a lot of good, just not right for me men.  Since right around when I moved to Laguna two years ago it started with a lifeguard in Newport and pretty much since has not stopped except for last year when I took three months off.  When a funny outspoken Brazilian guy who drank too much got me playing the  bullshit hang-out games I was so good at in Ocean City before I came west.

I am actually single right now, not dating anyone.  Enjoying the golden silence, considering the momentum of my life.   My life, built by me, measured out in breaths I take in and out and choices I've made.  Clear seeing, looking out on a life made by my own two hands! I have only four months left of school, including this month.  I am not ready to talk about that yet, but it is there like a new part of my breath and I am tending it everyday.  As a rule, since a gnarly gnarly break-up in 2008, I keep my love life tight and quiet on the internet.  We broke up the same month I got on Facebook, so it's sorta been how I reinvented.  Figured out who I was, separate from a man. That's six years behind me now though--and in the orange haze light, that sun that spilled over my hands like it was meant to feed the ink from finger tap to screen, this all amounted in my head yesterday.  Thinking on the men that have showed up as I've walked this whole, wild way made me pause and see this whole, wild way:

My god, I have been in Laguna over two years now.  That is longer than I have ever lived anywhere, ever!  Since I first left my mom's when I was 18.  I have stayed in one place.   I stayed!   Even at Philosopher's Terrace, where I had my name on the lease from 98 to spring in 02, I still left to go live twice with mom.  Alcohol and drugs.  They'll do that shit to you.

I almost left, last summer.  I almost fell back, like a wise woman can slide a minute

into dumb girl hang out games, to my old style of cut and run.

Last week I was picking out furniture for my sun deck, this little wooden alter built up out of the side of a Laguna Canyon wall.  Underneath, my compost bin.  Attached to post, my hammock swings.  I just bought fins, snorkel gear, got my wetsuit out to live in my trunk for easy access.  It would seem rather than making cut and run plans, my intent is to snuggle even further down and in.

What contentment, to nod at the coffee roaster, glance up from the orange-gold on my hands. It doesn't feel melodramatic anymore, like something I need to figure out.  It just is, easy as how the same sun that rises will eventually go down.   Love letters, from Laguna.  From and to my heart, my soul.  They are my own :)

 On their Facebook page! Me in the alley.  
I put their sticker over the Starbucks logo on the plastic cup I reuse.  
Which cracks people up.  It goes everywhere I go.