Posts Tagged ‘Monterey’

Last Kiss?

“Pacific Grove feels so old ” i have proclaimed many a time. As i walked the trail along Monterey Bay yet again i realized that the ancient nature of the locale was not merely the staidness and demographics of the town, but was contained in the rock formations along the shore. And as i walked along, i realized that it was these ancient relics that drew me here, not merely because of their beauty, but because they contained so much more – a history unknown to us, and a future yet to be revealed.

These stones have power – a power that i have realized many times before, but this time they revealed themselves to me. And subtly they speak to many who are drawn out to lover’s point on a sunny day, or who park their cars to watch the waves lap or pound over the rocks – often mesmerized by the scene. We know, we have built pathways and parks along the shore, but we do not always fully see. I have felt my energies shift here many a time, pulses of life and wisdom coming through many a time – and i have wondered, but have not dared, to ask what truly lays there.

In the rock formations along the west coast i have seen and felt remnants of an ancient civilization – that met a violent end very long ago – i see “beings” trapped in the stone, still alive, wanting to emerge, or perhaps some have already left. And it spoke to me again, of a great upheaval that once occurred, a sudden end to a life long ago, where beings we suddenly trapped in stone – the story of medusa no longer seems so farfetched. Or are there beings that are still alive, transmitting wisdom to us and to far off lands?

A Peaceful Sleep?

An ancient god or someone less benign?

an ancient's head along the shore


ancient dolphins on top? i have seen these forms elsewhere inland

another "dolphin" creature waiting to emerge

prophet or seer?

monkey man? ancient alien? just a stone?


I wonder if these dynamic remnants are related to the tranquil nature of Pacific Grove? Does the buried memory of that upheaval play into today’s consciousness, even if we do not know why? Is life contained within walls and selves, trapped, muffled, and held down, like the energy within the stones? Or has it long gone, and what remains is but form, something existing, standing still, and waiting to be born? I look across the bay to where the energy pulses strong , and i ask, what was this upheaval, and why does all seem so calm and at times lifeless around? But as with the rocks, there is still a life inside.

Then i remember the bay itself, and how it is the center of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, and how much life exists here – the seagulls and cormorants that perch on all the rocks, the seals who rest upon the smaller ones and who, with the sea otters, swim around, and the sea lions and whales that pass through, and so many more. And i cannot help wonder if these ancient stone beings help call in and maintain this life. 





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I went out to lover’s point today – in pacific grove by monterey. Today i once again here felt the energies pour through me and this time, unlike the last, did not wander out too far. i felt the joy of the place and a deep sense of gratefulness for all that was there. I felt the power of the stones thrust up, a reminder of a time gone by, and could feel the joy of the others who climbed out on this point at low tide. And i was grateful for the day, and the parks and paths that took me here, for all who created them and maintain them to this day. As i walked i looked at the dogs and the wildlife around – the seagulls and mures or cormorants out on the rocks, and as i turned back, the seals who balanced upon them, looking like rocks themselves. I felt at peace and a calm, and a reminder to seek the good inside, to seek out the kernels of light, rather than those of dark. Energies came through intensely out on that point, as they have before, and i realize why it is such a special place and why all continue to make it so. i walked out a bit and then back towards the city and the bay, distracted for a while, until i saw more seals on rocks and the beach, seagulls flying around, a few sea otters with their dense fir, and two cranes by the touristy fisherman’s wharfs. The rocks have power in their uplift, but it is people who help preserve the bay today, and i am thankful for all the forces that have made this a special place.

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sunburn by the sea

I felt my energy calm when i sat beside the shore in Monterey. A relaxation came over me – one that was deep, cells and tension loosening, loosening. for a while i felt bliss, and energy flowing through, moving out and in and expansion but that has now turned to a blah and sadness, as can be felt upon this page. intensity is gone, and i wonder how that calm – the negative ions of the water, the return to the level of the sea and the softening and looseness is but a part of the spectrum of the lethargy and heaviness that i have experienced in myself and felt in others further up the coast in the rain. Molecules loosen, the vibration slows, and all becomes sluggish, like many of the faces i saw. But for a while it was wonderful, anxiety stripped away, and contentment felt throughout. I felt changes inside, muscles gripping less, face changing – until later i looked in the mirror and it was sad. And now i realize that i spent too long in the sun, walked too far without a repose, and sought merely to suck it in – and i got burnt.

The sun shone brightly and intensely upon the shore. I got up and kept on walking, to the place where the rocks grew more craggly and waves were more intense. i kept going on though i had nagging feelings inside that i should stop – the seaweed at this time of year has turn brown and slimy and most of all it stinks. once again, i found myself without food – unprepared. but i moved on, though the sun was getting hotter about midday – i stopped a while in the shade, no longer at peace, thinking of turning back – but to what and i looked further out and said i must go on. i pushed on, my feet sweltering, and when i got there i felt there was little for me – a more crowded beach with the tide coming in – and where i wanted to be still seemed out of reach. so i turned back – depleted, wondering why i had done this again. i felt the sun upon my back and arms, searing the skin and i could find no shade. later a woman told me i was getting red – back at the spot where i had paused the first time feeling contentment beside the shore – and i felt the burn even more.

And so for the past few days i have been avoiding the light. It has become painful and i wear the visible redness of my folly. And i have not been burnt like this for several years – since i climbed crough patrick in ireland over three years ago – and there like here, it snuck up on me – i was not expecting it and went out unprepared. So now i seek out the shadows and sit inside in the dark. And the next day i did not go where i had been called when i came to this place, or maybe the call was false after all and this was a lesson i needed to learn.
I finish this entry a week after the walk and my sunburn has gone away and the last layer of skin has peeled off my nose. But i still linger in the dark though the sun shines brightly in the day. And i have moved up the coast to another place, a place where i feel the burn is more intense – not on my skin but inside. For i have spent too long seeking out the light and trying to bring it in – and not enough on sharing that which is within. for the ways i have sought have often been only skin deep and temporary. And maybe that is why i cannot ascend a mountain or climb too high, and remain in the valleys of life. Rather than try to glow down here, i have sought out the peaks, and in doing so i lose the light that was inside.

For i remember now sitting on the rocks and feeling the energy pulsing through, listening to sea lions at night, and watching pelicans and seagulls in the day and smiling as children ran exploring the world around, and dogs walking along taking the life in – passing the light through unconsciously, but that seems far away. When i first was there my smile grew and my words grew kind, but then i felt myself shrink inside. Was i unable to transform the light, or was it that it could not enter in through to the darkness inside, my critiques coming up and chasing it away. The sun is pure, but it can burn and the light must be spread around.

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I feel asleep last night listening to the sea lions bark and i felt content. I had come what felt like a long way, only 150 miles or less as the crow flies, but it took over 15 hours and took me through many zones. Tonight – the night after much of this was written – i feel light years away from where i had been – both outside and in.
-My body warned me – or rather my energy – going into a panic that was not just of mind. I wondered if it was merely self-talk, but i decided it was more and i am glad i listened. I am on the train, bleary eyed after waking just after 5am and barely sleeping at night. I am on the way to Monterey, not to Sacramento where i almost went. I had a ticket to there, and reservations (so i thought) but something screamed a loud ‘no’, you will not be able to stay so i changed my plans back to what they were in the first place – plans i had backed away from out of fear. Though there is something that still does not sit quite right.

I had thought of going back to the coast from the mountains where i was. Last time i had headed up north, and the time before to Sacramento and then north as well. i still feel called east, but i avoided the temptation to new mexico. And of that i still feel good. But going to monterey, i feel like i am repeating a cycle, and i wish to travel no more. every place has its activities and i do not know what i will do there. but the ocean calls, and a town where people really live. And as i am on the train, i realize it had not just been the city i had wanted to return to last time i left yosemite, but to that conference that i had turned my back upon – not willing to commit or take a chance. And i realize that it is not where i am, but what i am doing that counts. And i have invested so much in seeking and wandering, that i have been doing very little.

I panicked last night and did not really want to leave but i had already stayed a day too long, a day of hiding away, getting closed in by the hills and the negativity in my mind. Something that i need to shake off for i feel that i had drifted back to a person i thought i had let go of. I had thought of the coast, but muttered off and on for days. i stayed an extra day because i felt sick and tired one day, but now as i ride the train i wonder if it was because of the place, physcial mental, and emotional where i was. for i want to plant roots in a place i may spread my branches, and not merely hide away. And there at the bug and in the park before, i felt that is was hiding, that it was not a place where i could expand or positively link for the other energies there.

So anyways i waited until the evening to try to make a reservation after pondering and worrying most of the day (and we know what energy that feeds and becomes) but i was closed in by walls, and myself, and drew down into me. My phone did not work in the hostel as it had not in the park, and i discovered the monterey hostel was not on the toll-free line for all the other hostels in the land and needed a 48 hour advance notice to book on-line. i had seen earlier in the week that they had space over the weekend. The bus to the train station would leave the hostel stop at 620am, so it would be an early morning again – i had my options, trains leading to sacramento, new mexico and beyond could be caught at 10am – and i could call from down there.

The moon was full and i did not sleep, my mind turning over and over again. But i got up just past 5am, went outside and looked at the moon, and carried my bags down the hill to the bus that would take me to merced. I wanted to sleep on the way down, out of the mountains and to the hills, hills that rolled gently beneath the sky that was waking up for the day, and that provided a vista and space to see beyond. I got to the amtrak station about 730, and had to wait to make a call – now that my cell phone had service once again. I walked around what seems to be a poorer nieghborhood =- people walking on the street, people of colour, police, run down homes and a convenience store with bars – and called the monterey hostel just past 8 and got the answering machine. i tried again and still the same, so i became worried, and called sacramento where i made a reservation for the night – i though of there since i could go from many directions from that stopping point and it was a place where people lived. There waa a three night limit per year if you are not a member, and the woman while professional was not welcoming at all – i only have a passport and nothing showing an address and she muttered and said we normally require something more, did i have any mail or something more. i thought i did.

i bought a train ticket for 10am and then began to feel uneasy once again. I panicked, became tight, imagining myself sleeping on the street. I searched my bags, had cleaned them out, and nothing more recent showing an address. the no grew louder in my mind, over and over, so i decided to change my mind. i called to cancel and said i know i will have to pay a fee, and she said no, the reservation is for saturday, we do not take same day reservations and today is friday after all. i was not merely projecting, but felt something was off.

I am in san Jose where i have waited for over four hours – the bus from stockton was late by just a few minutes, but long enough to miss my connection. When i called the hostel this morning i said i might be in on the second bus, though the schedule said i would make the first. I felt it would happen, was that a premonition, is it something i caused -i don’t believe so but the idea that our thoughts have power. The bus was late to arrive, something that others in line let on is often the case, and the driver with attitude took forever to load, and then sat and relaxed in his seat for quite a while. It was out of my control but it happened, and i worried and fretted on the bus here – although i knew there was nothing that i could do, and it was something i had prepared myself for. Still, it shows how off my energy has become and how uncertain i am about this journey.

I was able to go into town for a few hours to eat and walk and drink coffee. i persuaded the guy at the amtrak station to take my bags for free – the charge was only $3 but as i just missed the connection by a few minutes, something i felt was the drivers fault, he let me after i hesitated moving aside and raised a small stink. still, i think that path may have been stalwarted, several obstacles in the way, and have i pushed to hard for something i know is just a way of marking time. But being in the city made me glad i had not gone to sacramento for i felt off in the place. It is a nice downtown, with transit systems, tree lines streets, new buildings and a few old, an art gallery, a museum, a large church, a conference center and more, a park with benches and many chain restos around, but while the facade is nice, at 3pm on a friday afternoon, it seems devoid of life. i want to say people do not live there, though a safeway is downtown. A few workers in suits as i came back to the station, but mainly those in the day who looked like they never had anything to do (like myself). And the colour divide was large.

And taking the bus to here, brought back my feelings on california – the divide is great, the broken down and the shiny new which who knows how long will last – or what is behind those walls. New communities of silicon that still shine with wide boulevards full of cars and cars and more cars, and others that seem so gritty and broken down. in stockon the stations were in depleted areas, and we drove through warehouses of grey and fences, and the only life was a few with shopping cars leaving a foodbank in nomans land.

I sat outside at the bug which now seems forever away, and cried i can not go on anymore like this, the panic that hits when it is time to move on, the panic that hits when it is time to move on, but there i felt i could stay no longer, that i was merely eating myself up inside. But now i wonder.
I have also had a premonition about not being able to stay in monterey or my reservation being messed up – i hope this is not the case.
I have been in monterey for two days now and believe i should not have forced the trip. i listened not to go to sacramento, which was another holding place with which i am less familiar, but i ignored and pushed through the blockages to come here, not listening to that voice inside. Listening only to that voice of temptation that called for a momentary respite. And that feeling i could not stay – is true to a certain extent – to visit yes, as i have before, but not to stay for a long time. And this is familiar as is the energy that has returned to me.

I arrived at night, my first time in a while arriving in the dark. Days are shorter as the fall equinox has passed. A last mess up on the city bus where we missed the stop for the hostel – another woman was At first i was happy to breathe the moister air and listen to the sea lions at night, and to be inside a place with books and coming here and the driver asked if this is where we were going when we got on – but talked to other passengers and did not see that the driver had changed – and the new one did not know where we were to go. So i did not ring, and he passed the stop, but 15 hours after i left the yosemite bug, i found myself here –
And to listen for a real call, and not to retreat again and to learn to hear truly and not selectively.

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In the past days i have come upon at least two references to the renaissance man, the one who is interested in and studies a vast array of subjects, exploring the world, multi-faceted, multi-talented. Someone with a broad mind that is alive and curious. I came upon this in a novel i am reading, and in a reference down on cannery row in Monterey, when i was internally bemoaning the superficiality of the place. And then i began to think – how limited i am and how shallow my interests can be. On how in the past few weeks i have explored little, become bored by what is, and in doing so closed myself off.
I wondered if it is because i am returning to places i have once been, and had done all the exploring i wished to do. But there is always so much more. The person who can always find wonder in a back yard, a city block, a small town or a plot of land. And even on my adventures, i have really not been all that adventurous – not curious to see what is around the corner, or what really happens in a place, or who that other person really is.
But back to my recent time, back in the us of a. In Monterey this time i wandered, and did not see out, did not interact with life around, walked and observed without really seeing, putting my impressions onto all. I looked upon that which was around slightly askew and cynical – judging and categorizing though i tried not to. I went to the malls, and rode the bus, and walked along the water, and did try a few samples of the clam chowder on the wharf but i did not really engage – lose myself in the moment.
The previous visit, two years ago i explored more – the first walk along the waterfront, and the second, when it was new and magical, wondering about the plants that grew along the shore, the ones that made me sneeze, watching the harbour seals who balanced upon the rocks and gathered upon the beach.
On the previous visit i took the grapevine bus, up into the carmel valley, thinking i would do some wine tasting, not realizing the snob appeal, and the upper crust, how expensive it would be, and how you would be treated i If you were alone and dressed more poorly, not about to buy an expensive lunch or bottles of wine. And then i became disillusioned, especially waiting for the bus back to town that did not show and hanging around on a corner with the mexican workers for more than an hour until the bus did come.
And i explored the galleries and the shops in Carmel – one with impressive nature photos, but many filled with art for sale, that which would look good on a living room wall. But i wandered by the cute cottages, and tree lined streets and marveled at the white sand on the windy beach . This time i saw the sand that was white, but noticed the wind, and did not look around, feeling that i knew what i would see and thus closed my eyes to possibilities.
And the last time, was the first time i saw the coastline of Big Sur – took the bus down and back, had a coffee – even then did not go for a hike, more concerned about getting back than seeing what was around. But did not do it again – for it was now someplace i had been – the time before was before the drive down all the way a few weeks later with my father, puttering along, so slow on the twisty road, clenching my teeth out of fear and frustration blocking all the cars that went behind – stressed at something that was meant to be enjoyable. And it ws before, further down the coast, being left in a campground, hitchhiking out, after robert left to look at the ocean (in oregon), of walking and sitting looking at the ocean feeling both bliss and pain. And it was before getting a lift from a fellow camper all the way up in the pelting rain, stopping for an overpriced coffee and getting drenched, So if i had gone down there again it would not have been with fresh eyes, but a walk down memory land.
The last time on the way back from Big Sur i stopped at point lobos as the sky was turning, as it did too on Sunday, and walked in the wind, and felt the waves crash upon the shore. I never did make it to the aquarium.
Instead i spent too much time at the hostel, and ended up at Cannery Row just down the block more often that i wished, eating boring chain Subway sandwiches – not curious to find other cheap food.
And i looked at those walking and shopping and talking about when and where to eat, and realized that i was really no different. Where is the curiosity of my mind, body and soul. I looked at those who kayaked upon the water, those who were scuba diving, and those who were engaged. I thought of the flowers i passed and smiled at but whose names i do not know, whose growth patterns and origins and more i do not know, and of the rock formations, the layers jutting up, and i wondered how they were formed but did not inquire, and how little curiosity i have displayed, and how limited my experiences have been though they have taken place in many locales. And how i have been caught up in the me and wondering what i should do, instead of just letting interests guide me with enthusiasm and branching off where they lead me – developing and following a passion.

Is it that i lack curiosity or that fear holds me back – afraid to go out and explore as i do not know what i will find. And so i find myself in the same old places.

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Pacific Grove feels old. It is not merely the age of the people but the feel of the place. Few children are to be seen, and grey hair predominates but it is not that. It is an energy to the place, one that feels stale and stagnant, not rushing and moving like the ocean nearby. The main street is cute, independent restos and bakeries and little practical and it reminds me in some ways of a new england town. Yes, with warm sunny air at this time of the year. Trees line the boulevard and small upkept cottages with gardens and tended lawns line the side streets down to the water. But there is a conservative air to the place, one that makes you feel that you should see tweed despite the warmth of the day. It is nice, and nice is the best word to describe it.
Maybe it is the heritage of the place, its beginnings as a methodist camp, a town that remained dry for many years despite it proximity to cannery row and the drinking there in days of old. A liquor store now sits on a corner on main street, but the staid feel remains. Maybe it is the conservative dress, loose jeans on older women and loose tshirts and fleece. And there is a flaccid appearance among many who walk or even jog by on the water – not necessarily fat or old but loose skin, not taught as energy has slipped away. Yes, many women are post-menopausal, and i sensed that energy, but it is not always part of aging, for among them you see vibrant souls though the bodies appear worn with time, and you also sense the old slipping away energy in some that are chronologically young or middle aged.
It seems to be a safe community, one where you can sit or walk your dog in the middle of the night, though you may be questioned on what you are doing, that you are not posing a danger. But it is safe, but a safety that feels constrained, like life is not bursting out, not dancing with joy – no a middling contentment, and one that lets energy slip out.
There is life nearby though, and flowers and trees in town. By the water the dunes are a riot of colour with yellows and oranges and a variety of purples as wildflowers bloom. Seagulls fly, harbour seals swim and watch the people and sit on rocks by the beach where water is calmer, and further out the water speaks with waves washing up on the rocks.
In the afternoon, at the point, lovers point, life dances or more truthfully picnics, with families with kids playing, and barbeques going, and people talking and laughing, many latinos or other immigrants or tourists, the languages vary, but there is joy on a sunny saturday afternoon. Four blocks down and a different world, and different than it appeared in the morning.
The energy in the downtown, a cute downtown made me sad in a ways for it is an energy i have felt elsewhere on the coast, in my time on the oregon coast, and when i was back east closer to the great lakes and in the rust belt. And it makes me feel the slipping of america, the energetic force fading in the search for comfort and security and safety and predictability. I do not sense a zest for life, a can do, we will make it work somehow, in some way mentality that i sensed more in central america and maybe among those who have come and now work the low wage jobs here in California. Is the flaccidness the physical manifestation of complacency. But it is not just that for there is good – clean streets are maintained, walking paths, parks, space and safety and a sense of beauty and aesthetic appeal. It is smooth, not at all rough around the edges, smoothed out and bland and calm. It is proclaimed as an ideal community, and maybe it is, but to me it seems frozen in time.
What is ironic is that it represents the peace and quietude i craved for so long on my journey through bustling places of noise, chaos, smells and movement, of life lived loudly and to the extreme. Is is possible to have both life and serenity?

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I write this entry sitting in a coffee shop in a grand hotel at the end of cannery row in Monterey. And i cannot help but think that Steinbeck would have never written the works he did or receive his inspiration in the cannery row of today – for it is a cannery row in name only. In reality it is another tourist zone in a location by where people once did hard work and lived on the edge, inspired by a reality that was rough and yes, smelly. And yes, here, it is inspired by the famous works of the famous author whose books are sold all over, and whose quotes might be found on colourful banners or flags. The place is colourful, not so much in terms of the characters on a sunny Saturday afternoon, for it is mainly families visiting, shopping in the tourist stores, eating the chain and vacation food – ice cream and here seafood, some of which is to be found mainly in tourist zones. Yes it is alive with people smiling and enjoying, but a different type of liveliness than im sure once existed. But this is what it is today, a play place and a marketed destination. Behind the row, away from the water, is a clean bike and walking path where people pass through, clean with no garbage or smells from the back doors. The seagulls still hang around, and a seal or two, the few sea lions seem to be by the main dock down the way where clam chowder is sampled from the restos that line the pier. It is now a place where people visit and play not live and work, though some do, still in low wage jobs. and it has been transformed into something new.

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