Mendocino

Sometimes people ask me why I blog. What’s the benefit of it? How can you spend all that time talking to people that you don’t even know?  You know how it goes.

Well, the truth is, I do know the people I blog with. Over the years their joys have become my joys, their despairing moments, my despairing moments. I know them as well as if they were right in the room with me. Maybe better.

Once such blogger is Punatik AKA Emilio. He has a private blog now so I can’t link to it but he is a wonderful poet and observer of life. I have known him for quite a few years now and have always felt a connection with him. I do regard him as a true friend.

Recently, Emilio moved to Mendocino in California from Hawaii. He has found love again and seems to be really happy. I am really thrilled for him. The other day I was reading about Mendocino on the web and came across this glorious photo of a Mendocino sunset. It inspired me to write this story.

This one’s for you, Emilio.

They were connected by sunsets and an ocean. Pacific to Pacific. Opposite ends of the world, but the same ocean, nonetheless.

The world’s largest ocean, covering one third of the earth’s surface and  over 4000 metres deep on average.  It was named by Magellan who sailed it all those centuries ago not really knowing where he was going but probably knowing deep in his soul the significance of it.

155 million square kilometres. That’s how big it was. Hard to get into your head. She wondered how the whales felt when they set off on a journey and all they could see around them was that beautiful blue. What must that vastness be like, half water, half light?

When she was a kid she used to pretend to be a dolphin, diving and jumping through the waves. She watched David Attenborough documentaries over and over again. Borrowed books from the library about Jacques Cousteau, trying to perfect the dolphin’s movement, tying her ankles together, praying in the night that in the morning she would have a mermaid’s tale.

When she was 16 she dated a surfer. He told her he had a cool Californian name –  Bodhi, a name that smelt like chakras and sandalwood incense sticks, but she found out pretty quickly that his real name was  Dave-o.

Dave-o had lied about his name but he didn’t lie about the ocean. He was failing English and didn’t understand Shakespeare, but he was a poet when it came to the ocean.

He saw angels in the water. Gods. Stones that were crystals. He saw dreams in the deep and hope in the shallows, all tinged with luminous blue. The things he saw made her stay with him longer than she should.

She met another poet years later online. A storyteller and dreamer too. She only knew him through his words, but they were friends. Words brought them closer.  It wasn’t anything weird or sordid. It was just like-mindedness. How could it be that words and only words could form the various parts of the person behind them, adverb to sinew, noun to bone, adjective to corpuscle, until the person was their words but more than their words? The organic, purer version of themselves that would exist if the world didn’t keep pushing the true words away and replacing them with fallacies.

People asked why she did it. Talking, writing, philosophising via computers. Machines. People she didn’t really know. They could have been ghosts. They could have been fragments of reality or little shards of hope that had coalesced into the people she wished were real, into the idealistic view of the human race she still held in her heart.

The little shards of hope made her do it. They proved there were still real people in the world. Talking about things. Thinking about things. Believing.

The poet was in Mendocino now. In California.  Perched on the Pacific. Famous for its music festivals and sunsets. She had always wanted to go to California. It  seemed like a place where stories and songs came true.

Talk To Me Of Mendocino.  It was one of the first songs she’d learned to play on guitar.

And down on into California

Out to where but the rocks remain

And let the sun set on the ocean….

Talk to me of Mendocino

Closing my eyes I hear the sea

Must I wait

Must I follow

Won’t you say come with me?

It was good to think of him there, starting a new life, finding love again. It seemed like a place where you could trail your fingers through the wind and catch little specks of happiness.

She stood on the beach. The winter sand was dark. The sun set in oranges and pinks and vintage yellows. The waves lapped, white at the edges, but she knew that if she caught them in a jar they would be pure blue, sent all the way from California, unbound like echoes, making the farthest reaches of the world seem close enough to touch.

* Lyrics from Talk To Me Of Mendocino by Kate McGarrigle

© 1975 Garden Court Music

** Image of a Mendocino Sunset by Adwelian at Deviant Art.

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21 thoughts on “Mendocino

  1. Beautiful writing Selma, I loved this. 🙂

    And yes, the people we come to know online are just as real, sometimes more so! 😉 than the people we usually meet. As they have a platform where they can share their innermost thoughts, where they can go beyond the small talk and show themselves beneath the outer wrappers!

    I think you can ‘feel’ people through their words.

    Great post Selma. x

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    1. I completely agree with you, Susannah. I really like your point about going beyond the small talk – I think that’s why we get to know people online so well because we talk about the BIG issues. And you can ‘feel’ people through their words. Absolutely.

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    1. You are so kind to say that, Childwoman. How lovely of you. I am sure you will be the writer you want to be someday; actually, after looking at your blog you’re pretty damn good already. Thanks again for the comment!

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  2. Greetings Selma ! Thank you so very much for your kind words and wonderful story. I have been in Tacoma Washington this past week. Crystal has been developing a menu for her brother’s raw food bistro. I had a chance to spend time with my future in-laws and sample lots of great food at the private dinner for family and friends.Life is story-book like for me these days, and coming home to find your story…makes it even more so. Thanks again.

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    1. PUNATIK’S IN DA HOUSE. YAY. And he has a live link. YEEEHAAA!!!!

      That raw food bistro sounds fantastic. My sister went to one (I think it was in Portland) and I was surprised at the variety of foods on the menu. I had assumed it would be all plates of carrots and celery. D’oh. She said it was delicious.

      I am really, really happy your life is a story book at the moment. That is so fabulous. I wanted to thank you for your kindness re. my Uncle Sean and your beautiful photo because as you know he always wanted to get to California. I am so glad you’re there. It fits.

      I wish you and Crystal happiness all the way. I am beyond thrilled for you both. Much love to both of you XXXX

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  3. Hi Selma,
    This is why I love going to blogs early of a morning when I am having my coffee, it’s the perfect time to read such wonderful story’s like you have put in your blog.

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  4. Good ol’ Dave-o 😉 – everyone has the right to make up an exotic name or two – haha. Wonderful, heart-warming story – I agree with you and some of your commenters about why we feel we know people online – we are getting to the pithy stuff of life, a lot of the time, and bypassing all the filler conversations – and often talk about things you are not supposted to talk about at parties (like politics, beliefs and that sort of stuff).

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    1. Yeah, Dave-o (or should I say Bodhi) was a classic. My first experience of all buff and no brains. Is it wrong to think a former boyfriend was hot when it’s 30 years later? Does that make me some weird time travelling cougar? ROWR!

      Seriously though, your point about bypassing all the filler conversations is so true. We talk about all the things we ‘shouldn’t’ talk about when we blog and it opens up a whole new world for us. It really allows us to get to know people!

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  5. So enjoyed this, Selma – loved the bit about Dave-o and the images thrown up by “half water, half light” and “vintage yellow”. And as for “didn’t understand Shakespeare, but he was a poet when it came to the ocean” – give me the latter any day 🙂

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    1. It’s a funny thing about surfers. I used to surf myself and hung around with a few surfers at school and they were all into philosophy and poetry and so on, particularly after a big surfing session. It’s as if the water brought them closer to their creative side or something. I always remember it because the contrast was quite striking compared to the way they normally were. I agree – give me a poet any day 😀

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  6. In the past – and, well, currently – I have been guilty of considering my online friends as not being “real friends”. However, I’ve started to think that I may need to revise that opinion. Just because I’ve never met somebody, and possibly never will, does it mean that our relationship is not special and unique? Probably not.

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    1. I used to think that too, Petrichoric, but after 4 years of blogging I feel like I know some of my fellow bloggers really well and do regard them as real friends. I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m pleased it has. It is one of the more positive aspects of blogging for me 😀

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