A time-share resort has been given to me and the wife by some dear friends. I will be traveling this Friday to Mendocino County on the north coast of California, a remote part of the country, 140 miles above San Francisco on roads that are normally traveled only by sheep and cattle. Talking Stick may be noticeably absent and quiet for a week or more, silenced by the mere beauty and innocent gracefulness of this special, preserved part of the world, and by the profound lack of internet and cell phone service availability.
I have passed through southern Mendocino County, on Highway One, many times over many years. My tendency is to drive slow, look carefully at the natural phenomena, and end up at the end of a day of exploration in a cozy hotel room in the towns of Mendocino or Fort Bragg. These two towns are certainly not what one would call cosmopolitan. They are logging and fishing towns that have seen their heyday and now sleep in easy decline. I will go visit them and become enthralled once again with their picturesque sleepiness, but the place we will be staying cannot even be called a town.
The scenery is spectacular. I have a big camera with a long barrel of glass to put on the end of it, and may slide the lenses in and out a few times to pull in what is hard to see from shore. I am not sure if spending my entire life with painters–artists who paint–is a bragging point, or a huge discredit to my ability to conform with modern life that I might best keep to myself. But since this a journal, and not a newspaper headline, I suppose it is okay to briefly discuss.
My mother was a seascape artist who would drag me and other family members to remote locations on the coast to study the breakage of large waves on rock reefs. She would sit, study, photograph, and sketch the character of the sea when it was at its wildest. The wife does the same, and a sister and brother have spent a life painting other things in nature beyond the edge of the sea.
Me? I somehow got hung up on laying down words on paper at an early age, then later on computer screens, and taking to the smoother waves in the sea with a surfboard in my spare time. Maybe that last sentence will be my epitaph when I die?
I’m off, then, to do a few of the things I’ve done all my life, but do them in a pristine, uncrowded environment, for a week. I have been advised that there is very little connectivity with the electronics that now seems to rule our culture. I will be talking with the cows, sheep, hawks, crows, whales, and deer, and taking in a few notes.