Stories From California

Sometimes I want to write more than just journalistically about my experiences as a reporter. That is why I started to write down my thoughts, observations and emotions beyond scripts for radio, print and TV. This experiment is a lot of fun and scary at the same time. But, as they say, you have to get out of your comfort zone.

The River Calling - Esalen, CA

"Now, I want you to leave the yurt," our teacher said. She pointed to the windows as if we did not know what was outside: pine trees, eucalyptus, redwoods, the Pacific Ocean and clouds heavy with potential rain. "It is too beautiful to stay inside." She asked us to go towards what's calling us. She promised it would speak to us. She said it would tell us what to write. "It can be a flower, a tree, a bird, a wagon wheel. You will know."

We were in Esalen, Big Sur, a magic place, where people say those things and no one laughs. 

We put on our shoes and jackets, and off we went in all directions, notebooks and pens in our hands. Some of my fellow explorers seemed to know exactly where to go. One sat down next to a bush, one touched a tree. Most seemed a bit lost and still searching like me. We walked slowly, stopped, looked to the sky, into the distance, to the earth. 

Butterscotch Pines - Palm Springs, CA

We walk between the smell of butterscotch from pines. Snow swirls melt on my hair. A creek makes soft turns between red barked giants. Our steps are soft on paths moist from leaves and needles. In the distance water crashes over granite slabs into the gorge.

The light is soft beneath heavy clouds. The air is thin and cold. Each breath is precious. A tree with naked arms becomes a bridge across the flood. Silver, it pierces the sky. We cross, we smile, we laugh, take pictures. An adventure off the beaten path. My jacket is bright blue and warm. You carry our backpack and help me down the graveled rocks. 

Home on the Cliff - At the California Coast

Stuck to the window frame in front of my desk is a picture of a house at the ocean. My dream home. 

It is also the place where the story of my next book might happen. Last week I wrote the following words. Would you keep reading?

Drunk from this new beginning. My cup of life is filled with sage, rosemary and love. 

This is the magic place where I will start with all of who and what life made me. Where lies to please and appease end. Where nothing but straight forward action is required. Not a lot of spoken words, but kindness and compassion.

The house came furnished. All I brought fit in my car: a suitcase with clothes and a box of books, notebooks and pens, kitchen stuff, two sets of sheets and towels, the teddy bear my mother gave me when I was six years old and a machete for the weeds. 

Barefoot Under Waterfalls - Santa Monica Mountains

Our hike is mellow after an asphalt climb between mansions, wrought iron gates and garden landscapes. We walk through meadows of fresh grass towards a valley of dead trees, leaves the color of rust and a path of mud mixed with ash. Out of scorched hillsides grow fields of phospherous green, wild mustard yellow, lupine purple and California poppy orange. We cross a creek. Its whisper will be our companion and lead us to the waterfall.

The sky is this day's canvas. Cornflower blue. Not one cloud. Coal limbs from old trees stretch towards it, surviving witnesses of last November's forest fires. I touch a bark-less carbon skin. It's soft like driftwood and leaves no trace inside my hand.

Before the fires, thorny bushes scratched my calves along this hike. Sage and fern grew everywhere. Shade from trees used to keep the earth moist and slippery.

Today, we walk on sun baked paths.

Body of Love - Los Angeles California

Get out of your head, they say.

Get out of your house.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Well, I did all that last week, when I stepped towards the microphone at pspoets "Night of Love".

BodyLoveReadingEddieDirk

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