27 February 2011
Best Rocks Found in One Hour 2-19-98
Lines begin with ain't, end with great?
beatin term limits - tide tried but I got it
once I gave you to hold
my beach rock called
it was yours upon my demise
and how is your health
1996: Peak Beach Stuff
All the conjecture about Peak Beach Stuff and the slope of its descent;
for years its seemed like a step off a cliff to me.
Come to a nearly deserted Park at the end of February
best site in the camp, a narrow finger of sand between two tall hedgerows, looking
out on the Channel,
is there for the uncontested taking.
Return to the gatehouse to claim it.
The keeper is a hale 50ish Santa Barbara County Parks employee
without much idea how to spell my name.
I do it for him and he says
A shock - I thought the low season price was $20 and exclaim so.
You selected a Premium Camp Site and those are 30 year around.
Premium, I mutter, marinating contempt for the dollar hungry
anti-egalitarian get mine vocabulary of this country as I hand over two 20's
He says with what I take for Glee
And they're going Up
And hands me a 10.
No wondering why Public Employees enjoy such widespread hatred,
Well you know what Woody Guthrie says about California
I don't even know who Woody Guthrie is.
He seems quite proud of this.
He's a folk-singer, you know
This land is your land, this land is my land...
and hands me a receipt.
Cold, but bright and clear and an hour away from low tide.
Perfect time for a walk but I have a little camp to make, some sorting.
I see a fellow park in the day use area, and then he's off, with hiking
shoes, long pants, jacket and backpack with rain-cover - he's going
to the Point and will have that five miles to himself.
its the Sight every Beachwalker fears...
Amble to the Store / Grill, home of the World Famous J-Burger.
I was here last September, midweek, a middling site in a full camp
and my J-Burger was ugly, nothing to distinguish it, this is what happens
at the end of a season they're made many hundreds a day, after 7 years away...
I'm surprised to see Don behind the counter, originator of the store (1978)
and the J-Burger; I've not seen him here since 1999.
More surprised to hear him say
-Its the Beachwalker.
I chuckle and having no idea how he could remember me -
30 days here over the last 30 years - say
hey Don how are you.
What a you know?
Number 00, they won't relinquish it without the receipt.
Wander over to the enclosed dining area, plastic camptables looking out
on the creek toward Point Arguello. Much displayed here, including
framed Santa Barbara News-Press papers from September 8, 1923,
reporting the loss of 7 Navy Destroyers run aground at Point Honda
a few miles north.
Surrounded by many pictures of people with fish and a preponderance of the
gatekeeper guy, hmm
In the middle of all these remains the photo clipped from the Lompoc
Record back in 1987; though it has slipped some and the caption
disappeared, I remember it
"While hiking on Jamala Beach Dec 14
Art Dennis, Ralph Adamason and John Soma
encountered a rock that resembled the state of Oklahoma.
The three Lompocians carried the 55 pound rock
two miles back to their car and brought it home.
The trio mapped key cities on the rock."
First burger off the line on a day they may make 20 is like old times.
I take it outside to a table overlooking the creek that made this the site
of a Chumash village.
The lettuce is inch thick and finely shredded, the sauce is special and I like to
think the beef comes from the Cojo ranch that ranges in the fields just behind
the headlands. I muse over my last 100 yard dash.
1998, in a field near the lighthouse when I encountered a ton of who (the fuck)
are you mean bull in the brush.
That evening I went to the grill and ended 5 vegetarian years
with a J-burger, each bite in spite the bull.
My campsite is parallel to the spot that I threw the Titanium
Screw, a dull gray stout to the incinerator, into the drink October 14, 2003.
Nigel and I had discussions about this, and I have come around
to her way of thinking that hurling it was wrong: now I want it back, for the
churning sea to loyally cough it up and lay it at my feet, and then I'd like
to find a half dollar sized heart shaped mother of pearl shard to replace
the two I've found and given away, cause every walk I've taken since tossing
the Screw has been bereft.
But the water is different now I've seen the sisters tossing handfuls of ash in it
like, it struck me, primitive pagan peasant girls.
The plastic bag dropped on the shore with my share.
I questioned holding these particles, a tactility my fingers refused.
So strode into the waves and emptied it, triple rinsed it till clean
and since, this portion of Pacific ocean has never been too cold -
but the reality of where I'd like to settle
Scatters of ash spilled on the sand from the sisters beastly grabs and throws -
there is where I saw the Screw.
A full blown surprise at the damn-dest moment.
One last grin.
I thought of the pain threading this caused him.
Of the young man.
And I Flung...
jacket, bag, hat glasses, phone to take pictures, two bananas, a pint of water...
40 steps to encounter the nasty remains of a sea-lion,
just the blubbery skin that covered the head and shoulders
and none of that to shape it.
Not the Gasp! of suddenly encountered death.
My own warbly being shrugs, its fine here, true enough.
Troves of rocks and shells, bands wide and long as a basketball court before the receding tide, and an old easy happy grin that breaks and trembles to look, scan, sift.
Drift, and reverie, 40 years of continuity and bygone selves to wonder on.
One toe wrapped in gauze, then wrapped plastic around that to keep it
dry. These were once such fine looking high stepping feet; my tendons have
been shrinking for years...
First selection takes a mile or so, it ain't much but its something to hold.
At the crumbling doomed from the start seawall, a 3 inch abalone shell.
A rue for the perfect tiny one I once found.
I made a mistake and took it off the shelf and it broke.
2 after 16 years of serious looking here.
At the end of the day, I'll have a new rueful rule that I already knew:
Always Keep the Chiton Shell Special
Little delicate blue wings, bound to break or flee...
Think that's a coincidence?
15 foot length of kelp bulb, coiled like a snake; wrap this around
my shoulders and neck.
of iridescence to reach for.
Time flies to mid afternoon, two miles short of the Point.
Thinking, the north wind blows just fine when your walking south.
It will be a cold trudge back to camp; so turn around.
Fine brown oval Egg-crate stone, about twice the density of pumice, yup.
Plenty of Visions of the Virgin Mary Shell Shards -
bone white, long, flowing, curvy - hey!
PREDICTION OF THE INVENTION OF HDTV (Plasma - Wallmount)
Holding this in my hand as I encounter the second to last bend on the
way back, a shaggy unlaced boots heavy jacketed long stick walking
bearded man still headed south.
Hi, how far you going?
This is it, I think that tides about come back around.
I uncoil the kelp-bulb from around my neck.
I envision keeping it on the vast expanse of dashboard
in the Previa to let it dry that way.
A quarter mile north, I'm tired, hungry, would like a cigaret,
and spy a perfect shelter from the sun and wind that looks
carved out of the bluff; and head over for a sit.
The stick walking guy is coming my way.
I shift a little to give him room if he'd like to sit.
That's a nice windbreak.
You smoke weed?
Thinking about my application for maintenance man at an apartment
complex in Lompoc and the clean as a pin urine sample I've got for it.
I do. I'm Chris, and extend my hand
Mike, says he is a miner, with homegrown medical marijuana from Colorado.
It makes me cough, grin, and we talk for a while.
He's been here 4 days, is taken with the beach and thinks
its a place people just don't know about.
I tell him naw spring summer fall, its crawling with people.
Maybe not this far down the beach, but the park.
That the petroleum blobs he finds are not from the offshore platforms in the Channel,
but naturally occurring tar seeps and this stuff, asphaltum, is what the Chumash caulked
their boats with...Point Concepcion was the airstrip for the departure / arrival of souls,
and this stretch is traditionally known as the Gateway to the Spirit, North America.
How about that, and we start walking back, along the tide, chatting a little but mostly
looking. Then Mike says
bends down for a shard of abalone, then removes a ziplok baggie
to keep it along with a handful of others.
What you call it?
Cause they're Smokin Hot!
Looks like I'm going to have to walk in front of you I say.
He laughs, soon enough giving me tips on what to look for in Sea-Glass.
I know a few people who'd love to see this; but to my consternation,
and surprise, I take off a little quicker, indeed a little in front of him...
I suppose I'd die for this guy to find the Abalone Heart...
My eyes are nothing but desperately quick and furious sifters, and see nothing.
Mike on the other hand, strolling, poking with his stick finds three more Smokers!
He shows me a little dime sized fragment,
Thats worth $15-20 to a jewelry maker.
"Too Bad" (Mike said)
Dubious about that, impossible to imagine raffling off my own from their
bowls - or D's bathroom where a collection is kept next
the toothbrushes....encoded in many of them is the memory of their
finding, most often, I remind myself, in sand distinct from aggregations
I eat my last Banana - blood sugar has dropped, two miles yet to walk.
The heck of a time I had returning from Pt Arguello with James
in 1979. Stumbled back to camp and the back of his Dodge truck where
I'd stashed a bunch of cantaloupes I'd grown in Bakersfield and started
assaulting this fruit with my primordial hunger.
Jimmy watches me do this for a while and says
- you got another one of those Gorilla Nuts?
Always made you laugh,
Didn't see 50, leukemia.
Worked until he couldn't.
Closed his eyes, which relinquished a tear, and died.
I guess I believe it...
Kitsepawit informed Harrington in 1910:
"We are constantly walking on herbs the virtues of which no one knows"
1700 years ago
Insulated Big Man Smokes Dope Too Early
He found the mushrooms take you farther than boats
Too Many Things In His Hands caulked with asphaltum
To make sea worthy for the Channel Islands
And said well bro we could take both
Big trouble and they got kicked out
Inland to what is now known
Walkin south to Point Conception
I'm the latest in latent image keeping
I always reach for iridescence
Ain't that just a pretty thing to find
There she was at 17th and Geary
Waiting for the bus and not a little weary
I offered my hand and told her my name
Come to find out life would never be the same
Ain't that a just and pretty thing to find
I carry a sack so I can bring things back
Deeply sifting pebbles surely is madness
Less solely searching quantities of driftglass
Good for filling jars and making wind-chimes too
Real nice not that special
I keep to the top of the line of the tide
That's where the rightest now resides
Ain't that just the best thing to find
Jalamalithic Coins, Buttons and Stackers
Nother Nilla Wafer, like to fill a bowl
That rock looks like a Flint-Stones home
That's too Dumb I'm going to leave it alone
Lot of these are the size of eggs
Fit inside an organic free range hens
Recycled paper crate, wonder if I might
Fetch me a dozen, wouldn't that
Be just a funny thing to find
All of a week spelling her name
Fingertips tappin into my palm
A four letter fever, over and again
Sometimes seven, her middle name is Ann
Can we start doing things consecutive days
We rode on my Seca, Mission to Geneva
for Mom is Cooking's Sopa de Tortilla
Ain't that just a pretty way to dine
1543 Conception blew a storm
Broke Cabrillo's arm and the Spaniard died
Five miles to reach the Point
Eyes a-peeled for the holy grail
a Latex shield in the shape of a man
Once I found a coke can come from Japan
Walked it back to camp, dropped it in the trash
That is not a pretty thing to find
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