May 3, 2007
At the abyss, indeed.
After so many years here, if I’ve just got a couple of weeks left to call Paradise Cove home I sure intend to make the best of them. Even though I’ll be coming back to L.A. every three months or so, there’s definitely a very different feel when a place is “yours” than when you’re visiting just like everyone else. It will be odd to be a guest on a beach that has meant so much to me and that I feel I know intimately, but from the way the northern shoreline hugs my toes, I know that the new location will fill me with equal joy. When you see the photos from these fresh shores, the fit will be evident.
Today in the Cove was very windy, and the patterns that blew across the sea pushed birds and sailboats against their will. The collective dust from a too-dry year swirled in clouds off the pavement. Each gust filled the air with light brown and silt. The arid brush here should be far greener, and warns of the fragility of our oxymoronic desert life by the sea.
I sat on a favorite bench and stared out to this expanse, revisiting every inch of the coastline in front of me and 14 years of personal history contained within. Boyfriends. New chamber works. Restaurants. Rentals and landlords. Film scoring. Mountain hikes. Volunteer work. Health, mental and physical. Friendships. Each category’s memories self-divided into a “good” and “not so good” balance sheet, leaving me overflowing with emotions. I tried to make sense of the path my life has taken from a Manhattan street 45.4 years ago to this bench today. I couldn’t. And that was okay.
I’ve done my best not to be pushed against my will by the strong winds that have blown through my life. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and whenever I’ve been bright enough to recognize them, I’ve changed course. Taking responsibility for one’s happiness is no different than composing: we choose each note, one after the other, and hope for a beautiful result. If we ever got it just right, it would be a disappointment because there would be no reason to continue, no further search. It’s the imperfections that keep us striving for the next phrase and motif. Composing one’s life means to work diligently on a symphony that can always be improved and as such, will always remain unfinished. I view that as a terrific, ongoing opportunity, and something that inspires lots of forward motion. In this case, forward is due north.