Archives for posts with tag: Pacific Ocean

The Wild Cat

Humboldt County.  Lost Coast.  The Wild Cat.

I let the dogs out into the beautiful garden.  The Little Dog caught and killed a large rat in the orchard.  Dude tore it out of his mouth and shook it until its guts were all over his red fur.  They looked very pleased with their murderous selves.

Daisy and I huffed and puffed up the steep hill to The Tower.  Her father collaborated with local craftsman to build this beautiful space.  Originally built to disguise two ten thousand gallon tanks fed by spring water this tower can now be rented (click here) on Airbnb.

Alexander died less than a year ago.  It is a strange and wonderful experience living in his comfortable home.

We have been exploring.  All weekend we dropped in at community events: private and public parties.  The Mattole River Restoration cookout and dance, a wonderful wedding anniversary party where they made their own Grappa in a copper still.  A young cook from Oakland roasted pig and served it by an open fire under white canvas awnings.

The following day they called us to taste the gin they had just made in the same still.  Last night a local intellectual cooked us home-grown free range chicken and home-made pink grapefruit sorbet.  On Sunday morning we bought basil mayonnaise, catnip and tomato starts from the Petrolia Farmers Market.

Mattole Restoration Project Party

Young Chef

Anniversary Party

Petrolia Farmers Market Painted Map

Most of the Lost Coast is designated wilderness within the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area.  Remote beaches backed up by steep cliffs and mountains.  King’s Peak reaches an elevation of 4,088 feet only three miles from the Pacific Ocean.

The King Range has risen 66 feet in the last 6,000 years due to the meeting of three tectonic plates: North American, Pacific, and Juan de Fuca, just off the white cap coast.  The land on the North American plate is being piled rapidly upward.  Its grey crumbly sandstone creating beaches of pristine, black sand.

On the beach we meet a few passers-by.  We meet hikers who, by law, keep their food in locked plastic containers.  Bear proof.  The containers looked like the barrels atomic waste is stored in.

We needed cleaning supplies.  We drive an hour to get them.  The road from Petrolia to the Victorian town of Ferndale is perhaps one of the most beautiful roads I have ever traveled.  Hogweed, ancient ferns and Douglas Fir.

Ferndale was founded by Danish settlers.  The 19th century houses are really well-preserved.  The history of the town inextricably linked to tinned salmon and logging, both of which have gone forever.  The trees cut down, the salmon extinct.  We saw two huge trucks loaded with old growth tree trunks but apparently they come from small ‘sustainable’ forests.

Daisy’s father said:

Start with the word “sustainable.” These days fund-raisers and grant-writers string it round each sentence like an adjectival fanny pack, bulging with self-congratulation. Mostly, the term is meaningless or a vague expression of hope. In the case of timber, it’s a haphazard and often highly debatable designation that amounts to little more than a vague pledge that the timber is not virgin old growth.

We stop in at the lumber yard to buy laminated boards for Daisy to paint.  We are served by a fresh-faced youth.  I ask him if he’ll ever leave Ferndale.  He says, he’s a small town boy.  He doesn’t want to leave.  I understand why.

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The criminal matter is resolved.

Do you want to know what happened?

As part of a plea deal crafted by the DA and my lawyer, I plead NO CONTEST to a misdemeanor.  My sentence?  An 18 month gagging order and a 52 hour course in anger management.

There was no jail time, no fine.  It was all over in 20 minutes.

I smoked a cigarette outside the courtroom.  So did the DA.  She sat there in her black coat.  Sitting where she always sits.  Behind a wall.

Like a naughty school girl.  Smoking.

And I felt like it was going to be OK.  Because she was smoking too.

The judge said goodbye, the bailiff smiled.  The stenographer watched with interest.

I said goodbye to my lawyers and drove to Venice.

I had a lot of thinking to do.

On the way to Abbot KinneyRussian woman rear ended me.  We stopped abruptly on Wilshire Blvd.

Her name was Natalie Volk.  She was very apologetic.  Her husband got out of the car.  Natalie must have been 80 years old, he was older.  She touched the back of the car to make sure it wasn’t all a bad dream.

We exchanged personal details.  I’m not going to call her insurance people.  I know what they’ll do to her.  How punitive they can be.

That night I stopped at a gas station to buy gas and soda.  A huge black woman begged me to fill her gas tank.  The station wagon was packed with kids.  They were homeless.  They lived in that car.

I paid for their gas.  I made it seem like a terrible imposition.

Absurdly, I didn’t want other people to think I was being hijacked.

I went to buy myself a soda.  The woman at the checkout said, “That was really kind of you, they were homeless.”  She smiled and said,  “I’ll pay for your soda.”

I felt badly that I hadn’t been kinder to the homeless women.

On my way out of the service station I saw the most beautiful black man.  A solid wall of muscle.  He was walking up Lincoln Avenue.   I circled around until I found him.  I stopped the car and asked him what he was doing.

We had a chai latte at the Coffee Bean in Marina Del Rey.  He was from Chicago.  28 years old.  A personal trainer.  He had moved to LA a few months ago to help his brother.  He used to have dreadlocks.

I dropped him off at his apartment.  He invited me into his empty place.

At 5am I drove him to the gym where he worked.

Perhaps I should have given him more?  More than a chai latte?

As I drove home up the PCH.  Looking over the Pacific Ocean.  I thought about the previous day.

All that public money wasted.  All that time taken by highly paid District Attorneys,  Attorneys who could have been solving real crimes.

Money that could be spent repairing a local school. Money that could have been spent investigating white-collar crimes.

I was listening to John Martyn.  Solid Air.  Synthesized sea gulls.  A heartbeat.  My heart is still beating.

2.

Whatever may happen.  How ever bad it gets.  It is is up to you… yes you…  you can turn the worst things that happen into the most extraordinary adventure.

As anyone who has a creative bone in their body knows, to carve something artful out of wherever you find yourself… well.  It’s up to you.

So, it was no coincidence that, after I spoke to the reporter about The Trust Act, after my involved and specific conversation with the  lawyer, after I had recorded the Youtube video….

I sat down at my desk and rewrote the ending of my script.

What a killing crime this love can be.

This is for you Daddy.  You bad, bad man.

On Friday at 10am I will stand before you all again, on your televisions, in your newspapers, sparking up the internet.

Damning the authority.

On behalf of the brown people.

And after it is all over?  I am left on my own.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Because I have you.

I want to tell you about my neck.  The arthritis in my neck.  The arthritis that makes my arms numb.  My fingers tingle.

I am pleased not to share that with anyone.

The audience is singing along with the familiar tune.

It is 2am.  The dog is farting.  He’ll want to go out in the middle of the night.

Let me reiterate…I would rather work in an office.  I would rather work in an office than have a boyfriend.  In fact, it’s almost the same thing.  Giving up one’s freedom…just to be like everyone else.

Accepting second best.  I can’t do that again.

I have no intention of EVER having a boyfriend/partner/husband.

They say, “You’ll fall in love.”  “You’ll meet someone.”  “There’s someone out there for you.” Ha!  It simply isn’t true.  Why?  Because I am not looking, not interested…scared.

It was hot yesterday.  Very hot.  Looks like it’s going to be another hot day today.  BAFTA garden party at the British Embassy this afternoon.

My ankle is not getting any better.  My ‘wait and see’ policy worked on the left leg but not on the right.  I am shuffling like a decrepit.  Doctor on Monday.  We shall see.

Zachary came by yesterday and we hurled ourselves up the 101 and into Hollywood.  Hanging with some New York friends on Doheny.  A gay event…cute, pleasant people.  One of them had seen the ‘A’ List and asked…about the watch.

We ended the evening slumping into sofas at a private roof top club receiving all comers.  We had a pack of American Spirits so were very popular out there on the terrace.

Zachary is a dancer/performance artist.  He is off to Rome to show his work in a prestigious gallery.  I like his zeal.  It reminded me just how much fun touring a live show can be.

Samantha joined us, she was wearing knee-high leather boots, her hair tied back…she looked like Theda Bara.

We chatted with super chic Kelly Osborne.  We met a gay couple in an open relationship.

We drove home at midnight past a very fresh accident on the deserted PCH.  An inebriated man sitting at the edge of the road wearing a white button down…clutching his bloody chest.  His girlfriend standing by…weeping.

A two car collision.  His car visible, the other car (a police vehicle) had, it seemed, crashed over the edge of the PCH and into the Pacific.

Gawkers looking into the black sea.  The deputies, I read this morning, were not drowned.  Look here.

I am in NYC next week, post Irene.  Robby is there to see but he has a life in NYC (at our instigation) and I may very well not be a part of that.  That’s OK, he’s appropriately grateful.

Anna and Melanie beneath a mermaid pinata.

It is a world of wonder.  The day opens thus:  the clouds have cleared over Los Angeles.  The sun is bright and the air is clean.  The birds are singing.  The squirrels are playing in the palm trees within feet of my window.

Everyday I wake up is a new day to think about what life has to offer and I am all at once terrified and enchanted.

I frantically tidied the house, put all the clothes that were stacked in my room in their correct places.  I remembered to fold my teeshirts and not put things in draws that were inside out.

I have to move the car at 9am so I don’t get a parking ticket.  The little dog is looking at me expectantly.  We need to walk, we need to take the trash to the building dumpster.  We need to go to yet another 12-step meeting and rip my heart open again and again.

I want to smoke cigarettes.  I want to lay in bed and not feel.  Please.

Right here, right now.  That’s what John A says.  Reminding me to stay right here right now.   Not yesterday or tomorrow.   Right here, right now.

Everything happens for a reason.  Collating the artwork made me take an essential inventory.  It seems that there is more value in what I own than I first suspected.  The choices I made for 20 years have been good ones.

Everything happens for a reason.  That’s what they say.  That’s what they tell me.  That’s what I have come to believe.  The plan is set, the dye is cast.

I felt sickly last night, too sickly to leave the house then spontaneously decided to visit my friends Anna and Melanie.  Driving through the heavy rain the little dog and I arrived in Silverlake and ate slow roasted pork, black beans, plantains and lemon sorbet.   Chatted to my arty filmmaker friends and loved every minute.  Drove home, lay in bed waiting for the anticipated thunder but none came.

Silverlake, Los Felis, Arcadia, La Canada, Flitridge, Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Pasadena, the map of LA unfolding like an old linen backed map in my head.  The freeways, the concrete LA river, the Pacific Ocean all wrote in Indian ink.

I once owned a 17th century map of Venice that I found in a library in Dorset when I was a boy.   It was folded into a marbled envelope and each painstakingly hand drawn section of that map remains engraved in my memory.

Venice stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.

For a moment this morning I remembered that map and wished to be magically transported to the saltwater lagoons that stretch lazily along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers.

When I die the various maps of many cities will be lost.  I think often of that.  The many and various maps of  all the cities I explored that will be lost along with the smell of fresh snow, the taste of my lovers mouth, the unmistakable sound of my own childish footsteps running down warm unusual, sunlit corridors.

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