August 19, 2008
Ways to cross the water.
We spent this past weekend in Los Angeles to attend the wedding of two friends who I inadvertently introduced to each other a few years ago. This is not the first or even second time such magic has occurred after my innocent and often unintentional involvement, so I’m now confessing my unquestionable supreme powers to the world, and accepting applications from any blog readers looking for love. That’ll be $29.95, no money-back guarantee, no promises. Step right up! Shower first; that always helps with the dating thing.
It was really great seeing so many old friends at the wedding, and also at a casual hang I put together the next day on the beach where I used to live and blog: Paradise Cove. If you’re curious about the truth in the name of that place, just check out any of my blog postings prior to May 2007 in the right-hand sidebar archive, and you’ll get an excellent idea of my happy life amid the Malibu tide pools. The cover and booklet photos for my latest CD, Notes from the Kelp, were shot there, too.
Of course, everyone always wants to know what life is really like up here on Gilligan’s Island, and I regale them with stories of joy and delight framed in a world devoid of traffic lights and franchises. Without fail, people are fascinated by the machinations involved with getting on and off, and back on again, a bridge-less island floating in the middle of nowhere. When I speak to friends of this place I am obviously bubbling over with an ebullience so obnoxious and sickeningly sappy that it forces them, in self defense, to ask: “so, what don’t you like about living there? What do you miss about L.A.?”.
Well, the second part elicits one response: absolutely nothing, except of course my friends, and the baja mahi burritos at the Malibu La Salsa on PCH. As for the first part of the question, I admit, I am always stumped. Because nearly a year and a half into my life here I cannot think of anything that I don’t like.
Nonetheless, in an effort to assuage my pals’ impatient insistence that surely, no place can be perfect, I end up replying: “the challenge of getting on and off the island,” which I do almost monthly and cannot do in a hurry. Nor can travel be booked while under the influence, due to the dauntingly sober precision necessary to calculate the back-timing of ferries, puddle jumpers, and SeaTac departures so that everything coordinates and you are not stuck overnight somewhere other than where you are trying to end up.
My first photo above is what the “airport” looks like, when taking the sea plane to Seattle’s Lake Union. No security, no inane Kabuki dance of 1-quart plastic baggies displaying your private toiletries to the stranger next to you, and no taking off shoes unless you happen to feel like going for a brisk swim first. I can’t think of a more graceful manner in which to begin any journey. The view is just slightly nicer than what I stare at in the decrepit terminals at JFK and LAX. Just slightly. And the aroma: unquestionably so.
Then you see the noble little sea plane, ready for boarding, and next, the sole alternative for exit: a Washington State car ferry coming in, about to dock at Friday Harbor. Whether flying over this archipelago or gliding past each island on the water, any inconvenience in the many…many hours it takes to get where you want to go just fades into the peacefulness of being where you are at that moment. Ahhhh.
But don’t tell my friends that, please. They will accuse me of being waaaaay too mellow, and next time I’m in L.A. they might not want to see me, knowing that they will have to endure accounts of extreme happiness that, on last check, is possibly illegal in many parts of Los Angeles County.
What can I say? This life is not for everyone, but for those who are not everyone it is sublime. This weekend, my first visit back to Paradise Cove since moving, I anticipated twinges of melancholy and regret, remembering the fabulous years of my life spent here creating music and friendships and a closer bond with the sea. Instead, facing the beautiful crashing ocean and looking upward to squadrons of my beloved pelicans that regrettably don’t choose an air traffic pattern over the San Juans, I just felt blessed to have made my new home in such a gorgeous, if inconvenient, spot on the Earth.