Tuesday, August 25, 2009

no camera, will travel. . . .

I've been entirely too dependent on my camera, I'm thinking. I actually got to the point where I realized I was thinking "I have nothing to say, because I have nothing to show."

This is not a good thing from someone who fancies herself a writer.

So: I left the camera behind deliberately, and have headed to the West coast - Big Sur country - armed only with my words.

I'm a little out of practice. It's much different to look at my photos and compose a caption, which I now realize is pretty much what I've been doing for quite a while now: photo-essays. I throw in the occasional paragraph in between photos and hope I don't lose the show and tell audience. We're all part of the show and tell audience these days. What with links, and pictures, and google, wikipedia and youtube footnote opportunities, an unadorned script takes on the look of a formidable fortress.

At the same time, I am lamenting the no-camera status. Out here, the ivy grows like hedges, and the lavender is enormous! Plants I know as house plants flourish outside here in sizes unheard of while confined to a terra cotta pot. There's an historic "Arizona garden" (?) which has a sign warning you to stay on the path and not to bicycle or skateboard there, for your own safety's sake. I wondered about that - snakes, maybe? - until I saw the spikes and spines. Oh yeah. If you take a tumble into that little spiney patch of __________us horridas, you're going to know about it!

I'm staying in the erstwhile DelMonte Hotel. I understand that Pebble Beach (some 18 miles away) was built for this hotel. As were the two lakes here in Monterey. Everywhere I look there are pictures I would have taken. Pictures I would have expected to carry the burden of the words I no longer would have to wield.

But pictures can't convey the feeling of ten foot high windows with no screens and wavy glass, open to let in the cold night air coming in from the sea. They don't give you the feeling of 15 or 20 foot high ceiling and endless halls, of Spanish tile punctuated with colorful jewel-tone mosaic in fantastic shapes. A picture of a peacock is quite different than looking out my open bedroom window and seeing the peacock strolling in the magnolia grove just outside.

And no picture can capture the beauty I know resides at Big Sur - even though I only know that from pictures. . . .

I'm glad I did a little research on the weather ("Take a jacket, as it gets cold at night!") because even though it's August and on the beach, I have yet to appear without a jacket. It's a far cry from the East Coast on the beach this time of year. I can just picture (ha!) the wall-to-wall greased-up sea of sunburned people, dotted with sunbrellas, walled off from each other by sand crenallations molded from orange plastic forms.

When I get back from Big Sur, I'll see what words can do to show you the place. Meanwhile, I hear my friend the peacock. I had only heard that sound in films set in India before. Now I know that it's the peacock that is the sound of exotic movie sets. . . .

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