There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label california. Show all posts
Showing posts with label california. Show all posts

13 June 2017

Berkeley

Berkeley is a microcosm of New York City, in my opinion. Each block is a world unto itself, wrapped in it's own beliefs and ignorant of what is happening beyonds its own sidewalk borders.
Only the homeless cross the unseen lines that separate the city from itself, refugees in their own country. Yet their is a love and unselfishness that floats in the pungent air.
The more I see this country being ripped apart by politics and hatred, I find redemption and solace in a place such as Berkeley.

An island in a sea of garbage filled with zombies that walk crooked lines and spew garbled nonsense.

08 June 2017

A Giant in a Child's Gnome Maze

The garden maze was laid out perfectly before the Giant's eyes.

Little gnome houses could be seen, the tricky parts not so tricky after all for the ugly and lumber some beast.

Yet he enters regardless....
The Giant pretends he is a Little, no higher than the garden walls, and wanders with such pretense. He finds little gnome houses full of tiny furniture and gnome families making evening food preparations.
Around and around the Giant goes, delighting in the intricacies of the garden maze. To pretend is to let his beastly mind wander in creativity, and to do that is to be free.
He lets out a loud, jovial laugh as he finds his way out of the maze. The gnomes scamper and hide at the sound of this intruder....

then return to their evening activities once the Giant is gone.

07 June 2017

The Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

It was mid afternoon in January, and I was driving around the hills of Santa Barbara with the windows down and the ocean breeze was transporting my mind to happier places.

I eventually find the Botanical Gardens I was told about. Five and a half miles of hiking trails that take you through the varied landscapes that California has to offer.

Yet it's the sunlight that transposes this place into a magical wonder on this day. Soft warmth cascades down, from the redwood trees to the Japanese gardens.
Back then I was still reeling from the reality of our new President, as was most of California. The peace here helps to keep me calm in this new Trump era.
I focus on the light between the trees, the sun that forever shines and always rises to signal the beginning of a new day. It's constant revolution around our planet helps to keep me centered in an uncertain future.
I can always find a peaceful homecoming in Nature.

05 June 2017

Prisoner

I settle into my seat at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park just as the opening act walks onto the stage. I overhear the girls behind me remark "is that Karen Elson, Jack White's ex?"
What I saw was a beautiful red head, not someone's ex-wife, nor a former British supermodel. What I heard were heartbreaking lyrics, a tortured soul singing about her pain, and the magic that comes from baring your soul.
Goosebumps start as Ryan Adams comes onto the stage. This will have been my third time seeing him perform live, but after the first song I could tell that for me, he has never sounded better vocally, and the band was in tight form.
Perhaps it was because he was playing in his hometown, or perhaps it was just that he is in a good place in life, but no matter the reason, his Prisoner tour to showcase his newest album is a tour de force.
The night compromised of a 23 song set list that had such classic songs as Magnolia Mountain, Gimme something good, and Firecracker, as well as a new version of When the Stars Go Blue, plenty of tracks from the new album, and a final acoustic performance of Come Pick Me Up sung as a duet with Kate Elson.
If you have the chance, get out to see Ryan Adams this summer, as you won't regret it.

08 May 2017

Inspiration Point

I haven't seen California this lush and green in....forever. I think the plane has taken a detour and I've been re-routed. The call to be in the mountains above Berkeley is even stronger now.
Tilden regional park just above the city offers great hiking trails and jaw-dropping views of both the bay and the inland valleys. I find a trail and just start walking....

I lone black cow comes across my path, and is just as curious about me as I am about it.

Woah big fella.

I keep going, and eventually find myself at a place called Inspiration Point. The clouds have partially lifted and the Golden Gate Bridge is visible.

A couple is sitting on a park bench overlooking the bay. It's the purest example of strained love I've seen in quite awhile.
and I find it beautiful.

12 April 2017

Sigur Ros

I had never even heard of the band Sigur Ros before, but I know my instincts well enough by now to listen when I hear the words....
"Go".
I find myself at the top of Berkeley's Greek Theatre, listening to lyrics in Icelandic, having no idea what they mean, but feeling the power of this group's music come through loud and clear.

They were phenomenal!
I can't recommend them enough, and if you have the chance, go see them live. It won't matter that you can't understand what they are singing about, the lead singer's falsetto voice, the light show, the ethereal and hypnotic feeling of the music, and the playing of guitar's with a bow string will be more than enough for you to fall in love with Sigur Ros.


28 March 2017

Ventura Pier

The gringo shuffles his boots slowly along the boardwalk, waiting for the sun to rise. The ocean waves of Ventura are his ever constant companion.
He finds a quiet spot underneath the pier to sit and listen to the music the waves make as they cascade across the smooth stones on the beach.

He remembers hearing this music before, in Lima, in another life time.
The sadness seems to play a little more loudly this day, and he wonders if his time has come.

Not a bad way to go, the gringo ponders as his toes get soaked in the rising tide. He takes a step closer before seeing a squirrel on a rock watching him.

The squirrel speaks to him, "Today is not your day for banana fish".
He supposes not, and heeds the wise words of the squirrel and continues to listen to the ocean's music before carrying on through another day.

14 March 2017

The cliffs of Elwood

Emerging from Goleta Grove I can hear the old familiar sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore. Roads crisscross along the Elwood Cliffs in playful fashion, the young run along the trails, the elderly hold hands in the morning sun.
I find a secluded spot on the cliff's edge, cross my legs in meditating fashion, close my eyes and recite poetry in my mind.

When I open them, a lone crane is a few feet from me. It is watching the ocean too as the morning fog burns off in the sun and escapes into the seaside bluffs.
A kinship is born between us, two creatures placed upon this earth at the same time, neither looking to harm the other, both only making their way through this world with a semblance of self awareness in their surroundings.

Do you take the time to truly appreciate where you are?

09 March 2017

Goleta Grove

I had a dream of walking amongst thousands of butterflies, their wings beating so furiously that the motion lifted my body in the air and away I went, up into the atmosphere.
The reality of my day at Goleta Grove however was quite different from my dream. The morning along the California coastline was in the lower 40's, and I was wearing shorts.

My research showed that the monarch butterflies cluster together high up in the Eucalyptus trees when its cold. These clusters can look like dead leaves when the butterflies wings are closed.

The morning was a chilly walk through a morning forest full of clusters of dead leaves high up in the branches. Yet, I do not complain as I have the place pretty much to myself.
As the sun warms the forest, the occasional monarch flutters down from a cluster to bask in the sunlight. This happens a few times throughout the morning, each time is its own magical thrill.

I have no expectations when trying to observe Nature in its natural habitat, I just take what the day is willing to show me.

26 February 2017

the Story of Solvang

Founded in 1911 by three Danish immigrants, the dream for a safe place to live and raise Danish families began. Buying large tracts of land for farming, homes, and a town started what is known as Solvang.

A "sunny field" indeed.
The place is undeniably charming, even with it's throngs of tourists flooding the small town streets. I feel like a character out of a Hans Christian Anderson story, perhaps a lone ogre or an elderly dwarf.
Maybe I'm a cobbler, looking for work so that I too can feed my family living on my small spot of land here in America.

Perhaps I'm a lone prince, looking for a princess in the fairy land of opportunity.
After all, I have roots in this culture, this place of Danish immigrants.

A place reminiscent of the hopes and dreams of all immigrants looking to come here.

At least, I do hope that we can continue to keep that dream alive.

01 February 2017

the Cholla Gardens

Melancholy mixed with tears covered the man's face as he made his way through the desert, racing the setting sun. An oasis of chollas appear before him, a giant cluster of prickly beauty, seemingly unreal.
He walks into the garden of cacti in a dream-like state of mind. A drum circle of young hipsters chants rhythmically. A young girl looks up, her eyes pierce his soul from her hand knit beanie.

He flashes back to his own lost love.
The moon pulls out the strangest of emotions, the truest of colors lying within each of us, waiting to explode with indignant rage, in the Cholla Gardens of Joshua Tree.

30 January 2017

a moment with the music of Ventura Beach

 "The ceremony is about to begin. The entertainment for this evening is not new, you've seen this entertainment through and through you have seen your birth, your life, your death....you may recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? -enough to base a movie on??”

I wonder about this more often than not. The words of the Lizard King rattle repeatedly around in my skull.

In La La land I dream of being a Hollywood director while the ocean waves play a symphony along the smooth stones of Ventura Beach.
People are sitting in yoga poses to my right, in deep meditation to my left. Even the homeless stop their rummaging to enjoy the sunrise.

I make a movie to take home and remember.

It will be enough for today.

09 December 2016

The seafood and ocean waves of Point Arena

"Being outdoors is as essential to my life as water, food, and air."
If the ocean waves ever stopped their endless crashing upon the rocky shores, Point Arena would be unbearably silent. Yet they do not, and life seems to create itself along the shoreline. Gulls line up along the rooftop of the only restaurant to be found. I wander the old and rickety building until I find the back entrance.

Long bearded fisherman line the bar, drinks barely touched as they re-hash the same old conversations.

The seafood is divine.
A lone dog on the pier is eyeing me as I make my way to ocean. He doesn't bark, I carefully tiptoe as I walk, afraid to crush a seashell.

I find a smooth stone to sit and watch the tide ebb and flow with my racing mind.
If you are searching for a place off the beaten path, a place where you can let your mind unwind, Point Arena may just be the destination you need.
It worked for me. 

08 December 2016

the return to Joshua Tree

Everything comes full circle if you have enough time and patience. I seem to have buckets of both. It had been ten years since I'd been to Joshua Tree National Park. I returned to walk the among the beautiful trees and to re-kindle a lost love, to feel the spirit of her that passed away a couple of months after our first trip here....
We talk about how I've gotten visibly older, I tell her she looks the same.

All the natural beauty here fails in comparison to the light she shines.
I sit in the same spot we did originally, high up on a boulder, and watch the sun set low into the sky before it disappears. I feel your warm breath on my neck as the stars twinkle in the night.
Your Angel Rays are here to stay, forever with me in this special place.

02 December 2016

the Wharf Master Inn

Down a gravelly road I travel, the ocean sounds growing stronger with each turn of the wheel. The small coastal town of Point Arena disappears into the thick forest growth.

Fishing boats and lobster traps are stacked along the roadside. Beaten and weathered wood buildings of intense character loom ahead.

The sign for my retreat is seen, the Wharf Master's Inn.
It's not a hotel so much as a scattered stack of buildings on the hillside, connected by rickety staircases. I make my way into the lobby, and check out with a local bottle of wine and a sense of contentment.
I have a deck with an ocean view, overlooking the local restaurant that serves seafood brought in by local fisherman. I search for blue whales while sipping red, dance to Ray Lamontagne whenever the moment strikes me.
The candles burn low late into the night as the stars come out to play, illuminating this hidden paradise.

12 November 2016

Ballarat

Into the furthest depths of Death Valley one must venture bravely into if you want to try and reach the ghost town of Ballarat. My guess is that many do not try.
Born in 1897, died in 1917, the desert town's heyday was certainly short lived. Some desert rats though continued to carve out a life here at the base of the Panamint mountains. Characters such as "Seldom Seen Slim" and Frank "Shorty" Harris.
I look upon their grave markers and former residences as the summer sun beats down from above. A wild braying burro startles me from my dreaming.
I move along through the remains of another forgotten town of the American West.

09 November 2016

3 am in Death Valley

It's one hundred and one degrees as I park the truck and climb into the bed at 3 am. Time to observe the stars in the universe in a way I haven't done since my childhood.

A lone coyote howls deep into the desert night. I can feel the presence of bats flying around my head. I'm just outside of Furnace Creek in Death Valley.

It's July 3rd.
The enormity and sheer size of the galaxy consistently takes my breath away. It's a truly humbling moment that puts me in my place in this world.

It's ironic that I write this the day after my country held it's Presidential elections, with a vote that humbled me again with the outcome.
I'm overcome with sadness, yet not really surprised. I've felt for a long time that a majority of the people living here have a skewed sense of right and wrong.

I get the anti-establishment idea, but not through him.

I want to disappear into the night sky and float freely in the galaxy, not stuck here on earth trying to explain to my niece about the election results, and how a person that says the things he does was elected.

I feel a riot coming, and it will not end well.

05 November 2016

Bowling Ball Beach

My mind is a curious wonder, is yours? 

No two are alike
naked as our bodies in the moonlight
against wet rocks crawling with desire and creatures of the night.
A bridge is built from makeshift driftwood
toes grip tightly until the soft sand
relaxes your skin
your senses
your former self.
Hidden stones under the skirt of the ocean
slowly are revealed with time
and patience.
I read the story of a madman
a murderer
a lost soul.
I find it strangely comforting out here
in the vast and open allure
of Nature.

02 November 2016

the story of how sh*t went down in Death Valley

The fourth of July this year landed on a Monday, giving us 9 to 5 workaday during the week folks a long three day weekend.

I took advantage of this time to go back to a place I first visited in December 2011, Death Valley National Park. Why did I want to go in the middle of the summer you may ask? I guess I like to push the boundaries of reason and sanity. Unfortunately, I went over the edge into an nightmarish abyss.
Saturday morning started out well enough. I land at the airport early, get a nice big truck for my rental, and start the 3 hour journey to the park. First stop is to find the ghost town of Rhyolite just outside the park entrance, and about seven miles from the town of Beatty, Nevada.

Driving along a dirt road as I'm leaving the ghost town, the low tire pressure light comes on. Confused, I put the truck in park and get out to examine the tires. Sure enough, I loud hissing sound is coming from the front left tire. Freaking out, I beeline it straight to back to Beatty, stressing as the PSI drops rapidly...

I make it to a gas station, and ask if there is a repair shop open around town (remember it is a holiday weekend). She gives me the cell number to the only mechanic. I call, only to find out he is on his way back from Las Vegas.

He can help me, but it will be a couple of hours. Eventually, he gets my tire replaced, using the spare on the rental.
I thank him, thinking my bad luck is out of the way. I'm behind schedule, but need to go back into the park to check into my lodging at Furnace Creek. Along the way I see road closures and pools of standing water along the road.

"Strange...."

An hour and a half later, I pull into Furnace Creek. There is a line coming out the front lobby, people sweating in the intense heat. I get in line....

I finally get to the front desk, only to learn that a major freak rain and lightning storm had rolled through the park the night before, knocking out all power to Furnace Creek. With no A/C, power or phone service, they had no way to contact us beforehand, but due to safety reasons, we couldn't stay in the park. Everyone was frantically trying to find alternate accommodations, all of which were at least an hour or two from our current location.

I decide to just drive back to Beatty, and find a small motel that has a room available for the next couple of nights.

"it can't get any worse, right?..."
The next morning, I head back into the park to explore new areas previously not seen. I'm limited due to most roads being closed, but I do find one open that takes me deep into the park.

Driving along the paved road smattered with small rocks that were washed up on the road from the previous rainstorm, I'm chugging along when the low tire pressure light comes on again.

"I can't be having another flat, can I?...."

Yet that is exactly what is happening. The right front tire this time, and the air is escaping much quicker. I'm not seven miles from a town like the day before, I'm about 50 miles from a major highway, 60 miles from any civilized town.

"This could be how I die."

I have no cellular service, so I do the only thing possible, and drive as fast as I can. Somehow, I make it back to the main highway, and about 4 miles from the town before that tire completely blows out. I pull over and wait for someone to help me.

No one does. Desperate, I try to call 911 with no cell service. The call goes through....

A hour later, just as the last of my water runs out, the police show up, and give me a ride back to town. They let me know that due to the rainstorm, rocks turn into razor sharp little bastards that wreck havoc on the roads, which is why my tires were being punctured.

They drop me off in town so I can call my rental car company to get a tow truck. I plop a quarter into the pay phone and dial...
The nice lady that answers can't even find my location at first on GPS to send a tow truck, but eventually we get it all worked out. Only problem is that the tow truck is a couple hours away...

Finally he arrives. I sit in his cab, no A/C but plenty of cigarette smoke. I breath deeply.
I tell him my stuff is in my hotel room back in Beatty, but he tells me that we will never make it up that road towing this truck, we have to go another route to get out of the park.

"just get me the hell out of here."

So I lost two tires, my luggage, and my sanity. I went straight to the Las Vegas airport and caught a flight home, trying to shake the unimaginable stream of bad luck that plagued me in Death Valley.