Friday, June 10, 2011
ON LITTLE PINE BEACH
On Wednesday afternoon I took the beach-hungry beasties to our favorite secret beach, called by us Little Pine Beach, where on that ultrafine calm blue feather-clouded day the four of us got out of the car at the end of the long narrow road to the sand and water about a hundred meters or so away. When I turned around after getting my bag from the trunk, there in the far distance, arms raised in glee, were three tiny silhouettes already screamsplashing into the calm water...
I headed at a slow pace along the hundred meters or so to the beach, and when I was almost there remembered the beach mat in the trunk so turned and walked the hundred meters or so back to the car, got the mat and walked the hundred meters or so back to the beach where I realized that since school was in session, the season does not begin for about another month and there WAS NOBODY ELSE THERE WE HAD THE ENTIRE BEACH TO OURSELVES!
As I spread the mat amidst the joy I couldn't help but notice that beneath the many little pines were strewn about seven million pine cones, perfectly seasoned for starting fires in a woodstove, and there's only one household I know of around here that has any such need for pine cones. Everybody else uses nuclear power. Even better, these were free pine cones, with no meltdown.
But no way would (or could) I ask the girls out of the water when the swimming was perfect, even to gather also perfect pine cones just lying there waiting to be claimed by this lucky winner of the Pine Cone Lottery. No questions from the press, please. So I alone jumped right on the pine cones, but I only had my small back pack and a little plastic bag of the kind they make that holds maybe two pine cones, go figure. And it would rain before I could get back here on the weekend... What's that old saying about Lord, thy pine cone-covered beach is so vast etc.--
So I walked the hundred meters or so back to the car and was lucky to find some large plastic bags that we sometimes have in the car for wild vegs, fruits and herbs, walked the hundred or so meters back to the beach and commenced harvesting pine cones by ones twos and threes in the mango gold of the late afternoon as the girls splashed in the shallows and a powerboat roared aimlessly back and forth offshore, playing music of the kind that requires volume to offset some central emptiness, the roarers seeking in the midst of nature's beauty to somehow drown out her insistent presence in a dull version of fun that seeks distraction from what it will not see and does not want to understand. Unlike the girls, who in their bigger world were fashioning beach toys and houses from bamboo and sandpiles, having deep fun with water and earth-- no boat, no motor, no fuel, no blasting along the surface, no costly layers of separation from what is, bottom line, the ancient part of ourselves.
And so as the girls played in all that majesty I bent to my task about 500 times, wandering not bent/bent/not bent/bent along the shore beneath the pines, gathering only the finest cones - one becomes a pine cone gourmet of sorts after a few years - strewn there by the hurricane of a few days ago and normally soon raked away and burned by the beachkeepers, but the season hasn't begun so I was doing them something of a favor, and I must say I haven't seen such a fine crop of pine cones in all my years here, they were that golden amber of the fresh unweathered kind-- I got 8 big bulging bags full.
Later, after a cooling loll on the shady sand, as it approached time to leave - me wearing my white hemp pants, orange NYC t-shirt under white shirt w/long sleeves rolled and straw cowboy hat with the silver concho on the front - I gathered up three big bulging bags of pinecones in each hand and headed back the hundred meters or so to the car through the narrow alley. On the way, I passed three young Japanese males heading for the beach, who, upon beholding way out here in the middle of nowhere - japanopublicly speaking - a tall, long-white-haired elder gaijin striding along in white pants, white shirt, orange NYC tee and conchoed straw cowboy hat, carrying... three big bags full of pine cones in each hand... it changed their worldview somewhat.
When I walked back the hundred yards or so to the beach to get the other bags of pine cones and carry them the hundred yards or so back to the car before coming back the hundred yards or so to the beach to gather up the girls and their stuff and walk the hundred yards or so back to the car to head home, I saw the young men still standing there on the sunset beach like the enigma in a De Chirico painting with some loud rap music drifting over the water, puzzled to have come to a long beautiful beach empty but for three little girls, and additionally puzzled at major pine cone haulage by a strange foreigner from NYC... It was an odd day, I could sense them concluding at their unsought insight into the inspirational sources of the surrealists. It got even more surreal when I took the three little girls away with me.
Life can get interesting on Little Pine Beach.