Losing the Ocean

2 Jul

I was a child in West Los Angeles, and we went to the beach. I would confront the waves, and I learned to dive under them as they broke, and swam out beyond the breaker line to float. It was magnificent.

Then we went away to Massachusetts, and lived by a lake. I learned her too: her leeches, her snapping turtles, her moonlight mystery at night, and then in winter, her changing surface, her shining wonder, her icy treachery.

Then I came back to L.A. in the late 1970’s. I went into the ocean.

She tasted different. She tasted wrong.

I dreamed of her for decades. Sometimes I lived in a glass house and she would beat upon the house with her waves. Sometimes I would walk along her coast for miles and miles, looking for something. Sometimes I would walk north, sometimes I would walk south. But I never went into her. Not after that time.

And then I had other dreams, where I was more inland and walking, walking down Olympic Boulevard, where I saw the triple rainbow once in my early twenties, right after walking by a lightning strike so close the air turned blue around me.

Or walking in Hollywood, further in. Looking at the sky, looking for her, trying to see which way she was. Always heading towards her. Always drawn.

I lived in the Seacastle Apartments for a few years, around 1980. Before the earthquake came and they made everybody leave. It was like a Hollywood set, with a huge, dingy, mirrored foyer, with aging white carpet, dodgy elevators, and a stone cathedral on the third floor. I played my flute there.

I didn’t have an ocean view. That would have been expensive. I didn’t have a view at all, but I could hear her, always. Sighing and soughing and occasionally roaring.

I had a woman friend, we liked to take acid and go to the beach. That was all right.

I left again, and I came back again, but I didn’t go to the beach anymore. And then I left, for good I guess, 20 years ago.

I miss her. I miss the way she sounds, the way she smells. Even though I know she probably tastes even worse now. It’s not her fault.

Sometimes in the summer, I bicycle near the Pecos, and even this poor trapped little creek, she smells like river. She smells like ocean. And it takes me back to when I would tramp up a Malibu creek that led to the Pacific, and hunt tadpoles, and wonder at the magnificence of water.

2 Responses to “Losing the Ocean”

  1. AWESOME CAT 2016/07/03 at 3:16 am #



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