Saturday, July 14, 2012

The State of the State of Margaritaville

I've seen a tern snatch a silver fish out of silver water. 
I've seen the bustle of Main Street in the next town up the coast where it seems to be fashionable to sell art and socks, books and journals, soap and scoops of French lavender, coffee, furniture, and antiques all under one chic roof.
I've seen a dog people there call "Care Bear" who trots the streets with a stuffed animal in his mouth, a free spirit seemingly belonging to no one and everyone. 
I've seen myself looking at beach beauties with envy.
I've seen people crawling through a hole in the fence by the cordoned off sand dunes and asked if they've ever been "prosecuted under the full extent of the law." No, they said. They just go to look at the great horned owls who nest in the trees. There are five, they said. I went for a look, myself. But I turned back when the third lizard raced across my sandaled feet.
I've seen beautiful historic buildings bearing earthquake bolts in their facades. My friend Ken, who used to be a building inspector, says that even after being seismically retrofitted, the buildings are still only strong enough to withstand a 5.5. I feel that I've been shored up to the same inadequate standard. 
I've seen a little boy, five or six, clutching a boogie board like a shield while barreling across dry sand until he is ankle deep in the surf and then running back. The board never touches the water.

This is Margaritaville. This is the time of my loneliness. I am the dog, the boy, the future crumpled building, and, I hope, the fish holding its silver treasure. I am not the beach beauty. I'm not sure about the owls or the lizards. Maybe I'm them, too. Hiding. Nesting. Startled and on the run.
"You're walking to the beach today if it kills you," I said aloud to my bowl of yogurt at breakfast. So I did. I broke free from my inner Stepford wife who has no husband but a zillion little chores, and I walked back to my least favorite restaurant for lunch, simply because I can get there by strolling on the sand. I sat at the bar, and I ordered a Caesar's salad and a glass of Chardonnay. Do you know the most popular cocktail that people order at a hotel bar on the beach? Yup. People are so literal. And hopeful, I suppose.

Sex on the Beach
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz peach schnapps
2 oz cranberry juice
2 oz orange juice

Seems like it should have sand on the rim of the glass, doesn't it? But no one would want it then. 

I have a beach ball-sized empty jar. I don't know why I keep moving this thing from place to place, I said to Ken as I put it on my patio. Because someone made it by hand? he said, knowing he was telling me what I already know. 

I have a book about Vermeer and his paintings, and this one called Allegory of Faith

made me think of that jar. The text says that the suspended  glass globe symbolizes man's capacity to believe in God.
I don't know anything about God, but I want to fill my jar with the shells, rocks, sticks, and plastic toys I find on the sand. Today I picked up a smooth gray rock, a rock with pink flecks, a small piece of driftwood and a blue plastic shovel. Tomorrow, if I can make myself leave the house, I have faith that I'll find more.


Birdie said...

Some of the most lonely times in our lives can turn into the best times, though it does not seem like it at the time. And who says you are not the beach beauty? I have no doubt someone is looking at you in their own time of loneliness thinking you are.

Did you ever get your boat named? I was away for about a week and missed a lot of posts.

Young at Heart said...

yes go fill your jar....everyday walk the never know what may turn up!!

Teresa Evangeline said...

It takes a great deal of staying in the moment to assuage a person's loneliness and it takes a lot of practice, but it also takes us, moment by moment, into peace and, ultimately, quiet joy. I still have to work at this. Some days requires more diligence than others.

The image of the ocean and sand is so inviting. I do hope you'll make it a practice to go down there every day, even for a few minutes, to reflect on the infinite view. What a wonderful thing - to live near the ocean.

I love that Vermeer. Just think of the devotion to his craft that allowed him to paint those drapes! She has one foot on the earth and her eyes turned toward the glass sphere. Lately, I've been spending more time with both feet on the earth. It helps ground me. :)

Ms. Moon said...

Loneliness and solitude are two completely different things, aren't they?
I hope that your loneliness slips into the sweeter solitude.
I hope that you find so many treasures.

michelle said...

I too think you are probably also a beach beauty.

I fill my loneliness with deep breaths. It helps. Briefly.


Puanani said...


janzi said...

How lucky you are to be so close to the ocean that it is just a walk away- the feel of wind in your hair, the sound of the surf, the touch of sand underfoot -marvellous!!! But today you are in a solitary mood I think- when you have had the closeness of a family and lived in happiness before, if there is no one to share your day and see the same views must be very hard I'm sure.. you have just such a wonderful writing style, that even the days you are feeling blue gives us true beauty.. amazing person you!!

Jules said...

We silly humans: we cant be the dog without being the lizard and owl. We cant be the boy without being the beach beauty and the crone hoping to fill the empty jar and the hollow leg. This is a lovely post, rich in imagery and angst. Love it. Drinking coconut rum called Malibu and wishing I was at your least favorite restaurnant with you...

Elizabeth said...

Despite the cacophony around me, I have never felt so lonely. But this isn't about me, is it? I will come visit you very soon. I will bring the $4.99 bottle of Sangria that I bought at Trader Joe's and we can walk and talk and fill your jar up with flotsam and jetsom.

Wrinkling Daily said...

I think little by little day by day you are making this place part of you. If you visit the ocean and the terns and the swimmers and the owls and the lizards often enough, they will welcome you as one of them and one day, after you all have become familiar with each other, you will be completely at home.

Suz said...

I think a lonely day is an honest day....and an honest day is a day worth living..and a day worth living is a joyful day, and a joyful day is worth a walk on the beach collecting and observing
thoughts...and you are a beach beauty

Mel said...

I feel that I've been shored up to the same inadequate standard.

Everything in this post resonated with me, but that line the most. Let's hope we don't have any big quakes.

I like what Mary said about loneliness vs solitude. I wish a it were as easy to have girlfriends in real life as it is to have them online. I'd beachcomb with you, I never saw a glass bowl or vase that didn't need filling with pretty found things. I'd order the same lunch as you at the least favorite restaurant.

For now, I'll have to settle for sharing your thoughts and words rather than your company.