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.