When pedaling about town yesterday, I took a long steady look at all the young lifeguards-in-training that were swimming in the ocean off Capitola Beach. A hundred young boys and girls bobbed in the light surf, reminding me of a school of fish that might have collected close to shore from the Monterey trench. I heard much squealing, partly from the delight of being in the water, partly a cacophony of nervous shrills from the shock of being in cold water. On up the steep, long hill toward Pleasure Point I spot a realtor’s sign advertising a beach house for sale, with the expression “Sea’s Your Dream” on the sign. Living near the beach has always been one of my grandest dreams, responsive to the waves and tides that change the look and feel of each day.
Weekends the masses move in and take over the town, an extended high tide. Oh well, the town will always be a Mecca for this three-month pilgrimage of land lubbers. Not enough of the coast is easily accessible. To the north lie steep cliffs of rock and sandstone. To get near the water in most places I would need to park along the highway and hike out across broad fields, only to encounter the powerful, driving north westerlies that receive their power from the upwelling of cool waters. Those are the places I will visit in the fall and winter, when the crowds that clog the roads dwindle and leave the open space free. For now I hug the inner recesses of the quiet, bird-filled forests, and wait for the season when the sensational California coast becomes purified from all raucous camaraderie, from what Big Sur writer Henry Miller typified as odious claptrap.
The mail lady in her quiet little delivery truck manages to stuff my mailbox with my new Kindle. All the books I had loaded onto my old Kindle I now need to reload and reorganize, if I want to carry this shelf of writing along with me when I go about. Much more disastrous events than this seem to plague the world every day. On occasion I think of all the libraries of the world, all the great books contained within them, all the nuggets of profound thinking and wisdom, and think that many of the world’s modern problems and dilemmas have already been addressed by our forefathers, but their advice and direction remains unattended. Pages grow more yellow and few come to the shelves to have a look at such sanctuaries of thought. Modern writers must ask themselves what good would one more volume be among the warehoused stacks of words that are seldom read. I pick a few of those that speak to me and look for the appropriate time and place to let them sink in and absorb me.
Perhaps one day will arrive when all the world’s knowledge will be sifted and sorted for relevancy and the distillate will live within each of us. Until then I will continue to look for myself while hoping that all the people swimming in the sea will realize their dreams. What high-minded and fanciful dreams can come to me on these August days.