The Ocean


February 16, 2017, Carlsbad, CA-

I have traveled, from one healing place

to another,

and then to another, yet.

Prescott has been my refuge,

for six years,

and six months.

Blythe is a wide spot

in the Colorado Desert,

of California’s underscored East.

I stayed there,

because it has the river.

A desert was once an ocean.

Dig deep enough,

past the scorpions’ nests,

and the caliche,

and there will be shell fossils.

La Jolla,



expensive as a place to live,

but sublimely peaceful,

if you look past the mobs.

It reminds me of a time,

long ago,

when I was in the Bronx.

on a Sunday morning,

in April.

No one else was about,

just me,

and Yankee Stadium,

and the animals of Bronx Zoo,

and the murals,

painted by those of good heart.


it was all the parents and kids,

beautiful people of tomorrow,

and a small colony of sea lions.


There are few murals in La Jolla,

but  there is a Museum of Contemporary Art


I left La Jolla,

and negotiated the hordes of people

trying, desperately, to get past

one another,

only to meet again,

at the next light.

We did this dance,

on I-5

and again

on the PCH,

from Encinitas,

to Carlsbad.

Here, I bought

yet another box

of Girl Scout cookies,

because mother and child

were alone,

ignored by those

passing in and out of Von’s.

I bought a box,

because this girl

is our future,

and the future needs

the water of encouragement.

I was followed

by a grandmother,

who bought four boxes,

which Mom proclaimed

the biggest sale of the day.


draws more encouragement.

I settled in,

at my Econolodge,

one of my refuges,

near the ocean.


Only In Indio


June 11, 2017, Indio-

Before leaving Prescott, this afternoon, I called my very inspirational youngest living brother, on the occasion of his birthday.  He’s legally blind, yet has never failed to work, steadily, over the past thirty-five years since his college graduation.  His work has always involved a high level of responsibility, and on he goes.

A nice little brunch party followed my conversation, this one in a lovely garden patio, in Prescott Valley.  The conversation there centered on the fine line between creative thought and following one’s own path, versus the “right” to be willfully disobedient to the institutions of one’s chosen Faith.  I am no one’s idea of a Yes Man, but breaking a covenant is as far from where I want to be, as the proverbial Hell  itself.  The person who conjured thoughts of having one’s own sect, gingerly retreated and hopefully will remain so.  The party continued, a pleasant, lovely affair.

I headed out, towards southern California, around 3:30 PM, successfully avoiding whatever back to LA traffic slog might have ensued.  Dinner at a fine, best-kept-secret place, Nichols West, in the tiny old mining town of Congress, certainly helped in that avoidance.  Run by an acerbic, but somewhat cordial, New Zealander, Nichols offers a variety of burgers with unusual toppings, intense salads, exquisite Mexican fare and a surprising variety of seafood.  I chose the brie & avocado burger, with a modest helping of shoestring fries.  The burger was fabulous, grass-fed beef, crispy bacon and moist, ripe avocado wedges, held together by a generous coating of melted brie.  A lovely, very pleasant team of waitresses didn’t hurt the occasion, either.

I digress, though.  I decided to stop here, at City Center Motel, given that what lies ahead of me is I-10, CA 57 & 22 to Highway 1.  At the end of that jaunt lies Palos Verdes Peninsula, where I will make the hike from a gorgeous overlook, down to the shore.  Then, it’ll be a fair drive, with stops at Long Beach’s pier, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, before securing a spot in one of the state beach campgrounds, en route to Crystal Cove.

“Only in Indio”?  That is an ubiquitous sign, along Hwy. 111, and Business 10.  It alludes to the Coachella Music Festival, held in this area every April.  Then, this area fills to the brim with alt-rock lovers from all over.  Now, however, it’s a cool night in June.  Motel rooms cost less than $ 100 per night, and I gratefully parked my carcass in a nice one.

It happens, in Indio, that one can walk, safely, along the 111, for two miles, and not find anywhere, other than an AM/PM., to get a cup of coffee.  This is, as much as anywhere else in southern California, a city designed for the automobile, while those whose fortune, or whose choice, it is to be without wheels, manage to walk along wide and well-kept sidewalks, taking the time they need to get from A to B.  Somehow, I enjoy being among them, walking the flat surface of the Colorado Desert cityscape.

Now, it’s bedtime.  I pray for a little boy who didn’t survive a beat-down, allegedly at the hands of his stepfather.  It’ll take some time before I can pray for the stepfather, and all I can do right now is resolve to be ever better at being kind and loving to those children I, myself, encounter, every day.