September 5, 2011
Sonata for the sea. And, the B-flat.
I woke up this morning, opened my eyes, and it struck me:
The first thing I see every day from my pillow, is in constant motion.
Okay, after I put my glasses on.
These hypnotic, undulating kelp beds probably help to keep me in some sort of trance state, as I make the transition from sleep to a [barely, sometimes] functional level of consciousness. Or more accurately, as I attempt not to cross that cerebral threshold while I throw on old jeans, make my coffee, and ponder the creative work I’d like to accomplish in the coming hours. Work that relies upon inspiration which ebbs and floods just as the tide nudges these plants. And upon initiative that must always flood, regardless. Hey, deadlines wait for no deadbeat composers. I gaze out the kitchen window at the day’s possibilities, watching a Great Blue Heron balance awkwardly on its skinny legs as the current shifts the bull kelp on which he’s gingerly perched.
Life is unpredictable.
Everyone around here waits patiently for inspiration. Or, the next meal.
Yesterday was bright bright bright sunshine all day long. And very hot. And windless. The sun blazed into this largely-glass house, making it a challenge for me to see my computer monitors. I draped a reflective cloth over one of my Macs, and donned a ball cap to avoid sunburn at my desk. Seriously. Over a hundred small sport fishing boats and ten more commercial trawlers packed the view from my deck. The diesel-scented rumble of engines filled the air, turning this normally isolated and silent batch of sea into a makeshift marina. Rods, downriggers, gill nets and purse seines were all after one common goal: salmon, which are running in large numbers right now. My daily amusement has been seeing the occasional fish jump right out of the water. And, back in again. Until his next leap lands him on someone’s grill.
And the whales? They wisely avoided the traffic congestion, and hung out elsewhere for the time being.
As all the boats follow the fish, it’s like watching a very slow-motion regatta.
I’ve learned to make sure I’ve got clothes on.
This Labor Day morning was a different picture altogether: the fog had been thick, the air was perfect with a slight, sunless-yet salty-warm breeze, and just three intrepid little fishing boats bobbed on the wind-topped saltwater, unable to see past their own bow. It was perfect.
That’s my favorite weather. I don’t enjoy the bright sunshine nearly as much as an overcast sky. The sun gives me a headache. The grey gives me energy and clears my thoughts. No wonder I gleefully fled Los Angeles. I think I’ve always been a Pacific Northwesterner at heart. I’m still waiting on the clear thoughts, but hey, all things in due time.
By 1pm the pea soup had made way for a kinder, gentler sort of bright blue sunshine, less piercing than the previous day’s. For whatever reason, the throng of boats was absent, with just a handful of hopeful fisherpeople seeing what they might come home with for dinner.
Balance had returned.
And by the end of the day, so had the whales.
And the heron? He did okay in the neighborhood today, and came back to watch the pink sunset with me. We’re both balancing, ever hope-filled, on the kelp.