» There I was .. sitting on the upper level of a double-decker Amtrak Pacific Surfliner .. surprised by how smoothly that baby rode. Impressive suspension for such a big car. No jerky wobble. Rather the gentlest of rocking. So gentle, in fact, that it would've been easy to doze off, were it not for the fact that ..
.. we were headed up the coast .. passing thru one town after another .. all places where I used to live .. old stomping grounds ..
.. and Cape Cod-ish Dana Point .. named after Richard Henry Dana, the guy from Harvard who wrote » Two Years Before the Mast (.. based on a diary he kept during his real-life adventures at sea in 1834).
Passing thru these seaside towns was like a trip down memory lane .. which brought back one flood of memories after another. Trippy. Nostalgic. Reflective.
This included beaches I'd been to .. restaurants I'd dined in .. the place where I rode my first wave (San Onofre, which is mentioned in the classic Beach Boys song » Surfin' USA) .. the bank where I dated that teller .. the place where (.. you get the idea).
Shortly after we passed thru Dana Point I had to depart the Surfliner and transfer to the bus cuz the train turned inland (.. which made me question the name » Surfliner).
Past "the big house" .. where he was conceived, and past the place where we were living when he was born. Past Julie's house. Past both Heisler park and Crystal Cove, the place where I met the Bug's mom (.. running the beach). A continual stream of rich memories.
About the time we got thru Laguna my head was swimming nicely .. amid a sea of nostalgia. "What if?" The question bounced around my brain like cowboy at a rodeo .. all the way to my destination » Corona del Mar (.. a ritzy little seaside hamlet perched on the edge of Newport Beach).
After arriving at Corona del Mar, I walked a few blocks to my friend's house (.. where my bike is stored). Badly needed some ocean air to clear my head, so I went for a ride (across the Goldenrod footbridge) down to the beach.
» Inspiration Point
There I ended up at Inspiration Point. Gorgeous day. They dont get much finer .. even by SoCal standards. We're talking mid-August.
There are a few park benches at Inspiration Point (very few), but they all were taken. One guy was stretched out, reclining on the best bench .. the one jutting out furthest toward the ocean. He was reading a book with an interesting title .. using his backpack as a makeshift pillow. I was jealous.
I made a place for myself on the grass there, and broke out my book .. but couldnt quite get comfortable, since I'd brought no towel (like the others) and the grass was damp.
About the time I was getting ready to leave, the guy who'd been reclining stood up and stretched. "Are you leaving?" I asked. He was.
So I took off my shirt & went horizontal. The bench was still warm from being baked in the sun all day. I took his lead and used my hip-pack as a makeshift pillow. Suh-weet. Wasnt long before the book started coming alive. In strange ways (« note .. that post was originally part of this entry. I extracted it for reasons of organization, length & better search engine indexing).
» " This is Pretty Bitchin' "
Somewhere about this time .. with warm sun shining down on me (at Inspiration Point) .. it felt like God himself was shining down on me. I wont try to describe it .. cuz it would probably sound corny.
Suffice to say I felt my emotional batteries being magically recharged. Batteries that I didnt even know had been depleted. I felt completely happy and it made for a bitchin' experience.
Those are the exact the words I heard myself mutter (with a big smile) » "This is pretty bitchin'" =)
About that time I heard somebody yell, "Whale!" Any day you see a whale is (by definition) » a magical day. But I was too into the book by then to sit up and see for myself. Already had my magical day.
The book (translated into English for the first time by Angela von der Lippe, a Sarah girl who has an Ivy doctorate in German Lit from Brown) seemed to suck me into a different world .. of poets and their courting of muses. Here's a sample quote for a taste:
Poets have always had their muses, and Rainer Maria Rilke was no exception. But Rilke's muse was different. She was more than the dark lady of poetic imagination who commands a netherworld of coy expectancy, defies apprehension by the senses, and ultimately inhabits the fluid shadows of genius ..
.. she assumed the qualities so often attributed to the poet's muse. Embodying that strange mixture of dominant mother and submissive mistress, she both set a critical standard for Rilke's craftsmanship, and coaxed the passionate abandon that inspired breakthroughs in his work. She was pursued as inspiration and hearkened to as critic and editor.
••• today's entry continues here below •••
About that time .. while I was laying there on the sun-warmed bench at Inspiration Point .. floating into the poet's world of courting his intriguing muse (.. by definition, a creature who brings » inspiration), and while it felt like God Himself was smiling down on me .. up walks this girl. (Talk about timing.)
It was later in the day, so the sun was hanging low in sky. Positioned directly behind her, it made her hair glow. She wore silver bracelets on one wrist and a flower in her hair. She walked up and asked ..
Well .. that's another story. Another day. But I remained in a scintillating, ecstatic mood the rest of the day. Supercharged.
Tho I later got to wondering .. was it the location that made the read so .. so trippy? Would I have had the same experience somwhere else? My hunch is, is this case, at least » location mattered.
The last time I had one of these magic days was back in March '08 » Nectar Day in Radland. Guess if we had them all the time, they'd lose their specialness. Tho every three years seems a bit sparse, no? ■
Note that today's post actually contained the entry titled » The Poet & His Intriguing Muse. I separated out that section for purposes of organization, length & (especially) better search engine indexing. (See above where it says » Then the book started coming alive. In strange ways.) But they should probably be read together, since that's the way they were written.
For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » amtrak surfliner train, and another for » inspiration point corona del mar. One more for » nostalgic trip. Difficult to pin a topic on today's entry.