Friday, April 3, 2015

Romancing the Sur

Like a mighty ship of the high seas from centuries ago, those of us who live here refer to Big Sur as a "she". The curves of the landscape are her curves: mountains sloping down to the sea become thighs gently opening to incoming tides. Ridge top valleys rest in the afternoon sun like concave tummies, swelling hills are really high round hips, breasts and dimpled bums.

Loving this rough and tumble, wildly beautiful Big Sur isn't easy. She's tough, and she's worth it, but sometimes you wonder...

She's fickle, and when she does treat you right, there are no guarantees that her love will last. She demands real-world sacrifices, which you often make for years before clearly seeing your choices. She's touchy, and sometimes harsh, as anyone will say who's felt the sting of local gossip, or paid the price for a wrong move, especially on the road.

You're cold and out of firewood, and she doesn't care. You're lonely and far from friends, she laughs. You struggle in your daily life and party to forget your troubles, while she just goes on dishing out her own dramas, oblivious to yours. You watch yourself grow older in the comfort of her company, but you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, too.

Devastating fires, treacherous rock slides and torrential storms contrast with gentle days that you wish could last forever, sunsets you'll remember on your deathbed and an existential solitude that heals your soul.

When she reveals herself, it's only in those moments when you are authentically open to her charms. She'll surprise you as you drive around a bend in the road: There she is, veils of mist swirling up to her sturdy knees, those classic cliffs plunging down to the ocean and receding down the coast, so beautiful that you just want to cry.

She'll seduce you with the lightest touch: moments of profound, eloquent stillness in the mornings. She takes your breath away with her baby pink dawns and scarlet sunset skies. Always changing, she teases with her great majesty, plays hard to get with her astonishing beauty. Now you see her, now, as you focus on your own puny life, you don't.

She is Queen of the sounds of silence: serenading frogs, whispering owls, rumbling surf, moaning trees, wing-beats. Most of all, she is a great teacher, probably more teacher than lover, really. When she gives of herself it is when we are ready, when we have done our work, when we have shared our joys, and pursued our passions.

The lunar Goddess must make her home in Big Sur, too. She rises full above the ridge-top, a redwood tree silhouetted against her bone white orb. She spills her bright light down canyons onto the expansive ocean, and we are transformed.

photo by Toby Rowland-Jones


the empress said...

reads like an unedited sufi rhasody!

SurToby said...

Oh Linda! As i sit here after a long day of being amongst a massive throng of people, your eloquent words bring honest tears to my eyes. How lyrical you are, and how you remind me of the great writers who have so delicately and beautifully encapsulated the life on the Big Sur coast.

You could not have captured the coast vision more exquisitely. You say that She is the teacher, yet, you, through your words, become the teacher, and invite us to view her in a different and more profound way.

Thank you love!

Linda said...

Thanks for your comments loves!

for the Empress, yes, I have been reading lots of Hafiz lately...
here's one for you, darling:

One regret, dear world
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that
I did not kiss you enough!

Chris said...

Somehow it didn't seem so odd to stumbled into this site some 15 years after speaking to you on the phone a couple of times. I've always remembered your name. I might still have your card somewhere.

Back then I was trying to get hold of Henry Miller films - for my dissertation. You might not remember. That's fine.

You write beautifully, and your words are very powerful. I have a new picture in my head now - of Big Sur - and Henry for that matter.

I hope you don't mind me dropping you a line like this. It seemed right.

I sincerely wish you happiness under that sky.

Chris Light

Anonymous said...

I’ve read some poetry and stories about our mountains, but your words fly true to Big Sur's sensuous shapes and moods with more clarity and vividness than all the rest put together.

Thank you,