Thoreau went to Walden’s pond for moral exploration and a rejection of the modern Industrial Age. I have the sea shore, that place where the edge of the world laps at the sand chilling my bare feet and reminding me that 71% of the earths surface, our home is covered by water. Nothing in the world is more satisfying to me than diving into a large body of salty brine, the way it feels wrapped around my skin, weightless and vulnerable to the deep void. It’s a mix of floating though outer space and flying. The pinch of my skin as it evaporates from my shivering body, the protective white crust that highlights my sun darkened skin, raw.
I did everything right, followed the norms of society, I was living the American dream. My yacht club was exactly halfway between my beach front shack and my little boat, about three minutes on my trusty beach cruiser. Lots of money, no debt and a girl I loved with the promise of a huge diamond on her finger. I found myself at work wishing I could go home, to the beach, the boat, anywhere but where I was. I longed for the freedom of weekends where I owned my time. I found myself a young urban professional who was wishing my life away.
A huge spring thunderstorm rolled though, I walked to the window and pressed my face against the glass, man is not meant to live indoors. A memory flashed though my mind. I was sitting on a wooden bench I had built at the edge of my garden. A bowl of Wheaties with a sliced banana and cold soy milk. I had just finished a long run though the foggy hills that follow the coast though La Jolla. Those long cool mornings were my meditation, the sounds of dry earth crunching under my sneakers, deep long breaths and the urge to push on further, harder, longer. Back in my garden the morning sun was warming my back, my bare toes digging into the dark fertile earth I had toiled over. I was poor, free, happy.
I walked back to my executive cubicle, wrote my resignation and walked out the door. A long heartfelt conversation with my lover left me wondering if it was me she loved or the life I was providing for her. A month later I moved out, just down the street to a beach front studio. I painted the walls till they appeared to be 200 years old, my little house reminded me of Greece with peeling stucco, bare wood floors and the constant breeze cooling away the heat of the day. A bed and a couch were my only furniture. I hung my ukulele in the middle of the largest wall, potted 200 plants in the giant glass structure that separated my front door from the Beach.
All my friends were mad at me, my protest to the norms of society made them question everything. How could I live so free and so happy, it’s not supposed to be that way. I would pluck the strings of my ukulele and sing old Spanish and Hawaiian songs, run for hours and aimlessly walk my small town, before long I knew everyone. Every single day started with a swim in the ocean, I would shiver dry while sipping a hot cup of coffee over a morning ciggi. I was on to something but I wasn’t there yet.
The garden of eden was found in my flight from the long arm of the law that kept finding me poaching the beaches of Hawaii. I set my one man tent up on the tip of Maui’s nose. I shared the nights with 700,000 Dead Hawaiian warriors buried under my bare feet. One morning walking the dawn of the beach I stopped dead in my tracks I looked over my right shoulder, then my left. Step by step I backtracked carefully putting each step exactly in my prints in the sand. A curious hippie girl walked towards me with her pot belly pig inquiring as to what I was doing. I’m backtracking so they can’t find me. Who she inquired? Pirates! There’s no pirates silly boy she said with a smile. I looked deep into her ocean blue eyes and assured her that there are pirates everywhere.
Draped in nothing but a small loincloth I walked with her slowly to the tent cabin she shared with her family. She was covered from her wrists to her ankles in a sheer white cloak and far more exposed than I. Tan naked children ran around playing in the grass while we prepared a raw smoothie with solar power and a second hand juicer. A cry from the field was a common experience. The Kaiwe thorns are thick as a nail, sharper than a razor and this devils horn always lands facing up. Waterfalls of salt welling from innocent clear eyes were usually quenched with some soft words, a good foot rub and a piggy back ride to mommy. I was getting closer.
The sea shore, that’s my home, the soft rolling of wavelets relentlessly massaging pebbles to sand. The crunch of my dinghy as it lands on terra firma. Drift wood, beach glass, cooking over an open fire. My lands-mans eyes are constantly gazing out to sea. While floating around on my own private island it’s always suitable land I’m searching for, a quiet place to set my hook, fresh water rolling out of the hills and the shore, that place where the surf meets the turf. Take one step beyond this magical line and you have entered a world that is raw, uncaring and never stops moving. To live for the sea is to find the never ending challenge of nature. The tasks of navigating by a piece of paper. Weather routing by staring at the sky and feeling the motion of the ocean. This life is as complex as it is simple, there are no rules but there are laws of the sea, one must work constantly to safely navigate from safe place to safe place. I look back and laugh that my work used to be plucking at a table of plastic keys , it wasn’t who I was but what I was. I did this all day everyday my reward a piece of paper with a bunch of zeros, how proud I was of all those zeros until I realized I worshiped that little piece of paper like a pagan god. My whole life revolved around it. I woke up early, worked late, fought hours of hell spent traffic all so at the end of the day I could add or subtract a few zeros from a little flickering screen before going to sleep tired, stressed out and unhappy… my search continues.
I had so many things on my plate yesterday but not one of them got scratched off my list. in the late afternoon I made my way through the rain to find a hot cup of coffee and an internet connection. I walked into the coffee bar and there she was. She looked up with a nervous smile completely blushing and looked away and then right into my soul. “I read your blog” it was obvious that this complete stranger knew everything about me and it made me nervous but in a powerful way. ” it was genius I mean what you wrote on the surface was funny but the underlying message really got to me. People, most of us feel so entitled to everything even your private life, I do. I feel like I’ve known you forever and I feel like part of you is in part of me. The haters need you the most, they are your most important readers because you fill the empty void in their life, they don’t really hate you, they want to be like you but don’t know how and it frustrates them so they lash out. Can I buy you a coffee.” Sure I’ll have a latte, she kindly asked the barista to make it with soy milk as she was vegan and wouldn’t pay for the enslavement and torture of an innocent creature of the earth. There was a very powerful connection between us, I was being pulled to her like a magnet. We sat close talking and laughing and innocently touching in a way only two connected souls can. She invited me to her house for yoga and fruit and I accepted.
I walked into to a mostly empty room, it smelled of coconut and sandalwood, the remnants of a fire smoldered in the wood stove. I was about to have my first real yoga experience. She tied half my hair back and instructed me to take off all my clothing and sit quietly on the purple mat, this as I was learning was nude yoga. I was instructed that from this point forward I would not speak but only to listen to her voice. She put on very calm music and we started. The longer it went the further I fell under the spell of her calm soft voice. It was much harder than I anticipated, beads of sweat formed on my eyelashes and dropped to the earth in slow motion, the hedonistic music spinning circles around me swirling and filling my body with a strange euphoria. I don’t know how long this whole thing went on but I had completely lost track of all time and space. The last thing I remember was her gently rolling my hip as I lay near unconscious in the fetal position. She brought me a glass of water, we shared it as she sat cross legged in the middle of the room lit a spliff and deeply inhaled. She leaned foreword softly pressing her lips against mine as I inhaled from her lungs to mine. Her head fell foreword gently resting on my shoulder.
No thoughts developed in my mind but I could feel everything from the tips of my toes to the follicles on my head. I felt completely enlightened. She excused herself, I walked out onto the porch, the night sky was pink and filled with a soft mist, the storm was breaking , I could feel the grain of the redwood deck massaging my bare feet. For the first time ever I wasn’t cold. I felt a warm body press against my back, again her head rested on my shoulder, her long hair tickled as it draped down me. Inviting me in for fruit I suddenly realized how warm it was in the house, how simple and empty with only the few necessities, I felt like I had come home. Her arm extended towards me with a bright red apple I accepted the offer of her fruit and so began the single most enlightening experience of my life.
Waking early in the day I felt different, whole is the only way I could describe it. What I’ve been chasing and searching for my entire life has always been within me, I’ve carried it everywhere I’ve gone yet never knew it even existed. Back home my little boat-shed feels so cold and empty. It’s filled with material possessions things I don’t need anchors in my life, barriers to my freedom. I’ve always thought that i was a minimalist but it turns out my minimal Possessions still hold me captive. My space isn’t too large it’s just empty and devoid of peaceful energy. I laid down on my bed and could feel the aura of lasts nights journey blanketing me in a calm sense of safety. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and finally understood that the joinery I’ve been on was a necessity in finding my own personal garden of eden. The tests I had passed, the betrayals I have endured, the constant failures have all brought me to this single starting point where I can now live in complete peace and harmony with myself.