Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mussel Shoals

I’d passed it dozens of times, this getaway ten miles north of Ventura and five miles south of Carpentaria off the 101. You know it is special when the exit is on the left. In fact for this small stretch it ceases being a freeway. The village of a few homes and hotel / restaurant is called Mussel Shoals as opposed to Muscle Beach. I much prefer the edibles to the bulging pecs and abs.

Presumably there are mussels in these shoals, these shallow waters. I’ll take their word for it though mussels were not on the menu at the Cliff House.

Since it was Peggy’s 91st birthday I pre-arranged for dolphins and seals to pass our reviewing stand. The view of the Pacific is wide and far. Another couple claimed they saw a baby whale but I suspect that was either a smooth black rock or some imposter.

As bodies of water go, I prefer lakes to oceans and rivers to lakes. I like the way the water meets and greets the land. The big attraction here is the nothingness, the mesmerizing waves breaking on the boulders and the enormity of the sea with unseen life teeming below the surface. To say, nothing is here is to say, everything: solitude, quiet, sky and shore birds. If you gaze out long enough you can hear that inner voice that sings beyond the genius of the sea.

The next time you might be checking out a spot for witness protection program this may be it. Remember Mussel Shoals when you are trying to write the great American novel.It is perfect place for ruminating, contemplating or meditating on the meaning of life…which is something I do every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday I just live it and on weekends I wonder what I did all week.

It is also romantic if you add the near-full moon, a bottle of wine and two poems I wrote for Peggy. No violins but if the moon is normally a sixty watt bulb it is now in its apogee and shines at 75 watts. We may or may have seen cows in mid-leap jumping over.

Native Americans knew good real estate when they saw it. The Chumash lived here for many moons until Pio Pico fought Alvarado in 1838. The Spanish land-grabbers offered the tribe plenty of Jesus and virtually wiped them out building missions. As for Pico and Alvarado they became boulevards.

Mussel Shoals wouldn’t be complete without mention of Rincon Island which is a man-made hunk of land about 1000 ft. off-shore connected by causeway. It is an oil and gas pumping station notable for its leaks and bankruptcies. Palm trees dot the land to hide the blight. Presumably the whales swim between the stilts and remember not to inhale the icky spillage.

Not to end on a blackish note, one can avoid any oily thoughts by a mere turn of the head to the left and admire the grace of the cove, the well-fed gulls and even the gopher in the grass who gave me the eye and then retreated to his subterranean condominium.

No comments:

Post a Comment