Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fisher King

Please, don't worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day... make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular.

Sometimes the best way to stop crying is to start writing.

Robin Williams is dead.

and in San Simeon, California two men restock the shelves of a local mini market. 
“Get out!  He was so funny!”
“Didn't he do the 'Nam DJ movie, oh yeah, and that Doubtfire thing?” 
“Uh huh, and he probably had more money than God.  What’s up with that?”
“No freakin’ idea.  He should’ve just gone fishing.”

Indeed.  I pay for my coffee and untie the dog that waits for me outside the store.
I think of Mr. Williams' more serious roles--Dead Poet’s Society and Awakenings--and how many times I had to step outside my classroom, ostensibly to blow my nose--actually to wipe my tears--while showing these videos.

Why didn't he go fishing?
For that matter, why didn't the equally brilliant and talented Philip Seymour Hoffman join him?  Look at the ocean and feel the sun one more time.  Take your kids or grand kids somewhere, see things through their eyes, just one more time.

and I am eating a tasteless Hearst burger which I thought it would be good idea to bring down to this isolated beach.
Something kind of “off putting” about my meal.  Is it the smell of rotten seaweed that's so common this time of year?

I collect my trash and walk toward the surf.  I’m not so much into fishing these days.  But I’m still angling for some incredible rocks here, just got to find them.

For a brief moment, I see “motherload,” that one rock special enough to make long a term crazy hobby seem sane.
And there it is, just off the surf’s edge and the size of my fist.  Not just another “moonstone” agate, either, this one is clear as ice.  You can see straight through it to the wet pebbles underneath.

I reach out and lunge, but remember to look up.  Oh, no...

Hell sent from a retreating +5.0 high tide comes that seventh alternate set, the wild wave that says, “Hold on there!  I’m not done just yet…”

Running full bore toward the cliff wall, I feel a wall of 55 degree water slap my ass like a bad boy getting a deserved spanking.  I laugh.  Shockingly cold but refreshingly fun, I tell myself.

Then I go back to the water’s edge, hoping that somehow, through some miracle that special rock might still be there.

Maybe after a couple of sets.  I wait.
Nope and nothing.
Still waiting, sensing a familiar irony.
Now you see it, now you don’t.  The ocean giveth and taketh away.

Not a problem.  The rock is still out there.  Just not going to happen today. 

But from my right field of vision, there's movement.  Something big.  A few yards to my left a bloated sea lion floats back and forth with the waves, its bare ribs grinding against the shoreline.  The remainder of its putrid flesh is of vital interest to nearby seagulls.

Inevitable and not surprising, I tell myself, given the time of year and degree to which warming has affected marine life.  It's odor becomes less detectable as the carcass washes north.

I continue my vigil a while.  Eventually, I shrug  and begin to pack. Like McArthur, I will return.  I will find that rock, that "motherload".

and I listen to happy rock, FM 103.5,  musicians now gone.  The message is clear.
Don’t wait too long.

Never stop fishing.