February 19th, 2009


Big Sur

Briefly, because I have homework to do.

For the past two days, we've been beyond the reach of cell phone and internet, out at a beautiful little place in Castro Canyon called Deetjens' Big Sur Inn.

As you know, George, I live in the city. The big, salty water is to the right going north and the left going south. Mountains are gently rolling, and even the highest is covered with trees, which are mostly deciduous and heavily underplanted with shrubs and bushes. The shore line is bouldery, but basically flat, and there's not a lot of surf activity, except maybe on Long Island. All of which means that I was mildly disoriented the whole time we were driving down to Big Sur and back, because the ocean just wasn't in the right place, and we were driving half-way up a mountain, which should have been way inland, and the underbrush was sparse and, by the way, poisonous. And the weather kept changing, like every three seconds, rain to sun to (heaven help us) hail. And I didn't recognize any of the flora or fauna, which mostly, on the East Coast, at least I have a clue.

I loved it. No, really. Deetjens is a lovely little cabin community, and we had the end cabin, thoughtfully provided with a wood stove, which was a good thing, since it was freezing cold, as in, you could see your breath. In the cabin. Both of us being veterans of wood stoves, we got it cranked up in no time and managed to keep it running the whole time we were there, by dint of stoking it when we got up in the night and keeping the damper half-closed. The first night we were there, we slept nearly 12 hours. Today, the sun actually came out, and we took a walk along Route 1 and looked for whales, but didn't see any. Lots of hunting falcons, though. And two seals and a sea otter on Point Lobo, where we hiked a couple of trails (in the rain) on our way south. Mostly, though, Ellen read and I started a story, curled up in the cushioned rocking chair by the wood stove, scribbling in a notebook.

And now we're in Santa Cruz, having done our reading and Q&A for the UCSC writing program and getting ready to talk to Karen's class in the morning. We're in a lovely 30's hotel by the boardwalk, where we can hear the waves. And I really have to read that story now, or my name will (deservedly) be mud.