The rain was temporarily over. Oola, the mysterious one, and I traveled over the river and through the woods to a Thanksgiving feast with friends Larry White (the thin man of Thin Man Strings fame) and his partner and singer Jennifer, to an evening of singing, Guitars, and champagne.
I first knew Larry as a fixture in Alameda, a music lover and player who made all-things-stringed available to the local — and distant — music community.
Now Larry lives north, a mile from the Pacific, in the redwoods, with a terraced garden, and with 2 cats who like being sung to. He still buys used stringed instruments off the internet and gives them new life.
He and Mr. Wildcard, the mysterious one, had a feast — some would say a gluttony — of guitar talk.
The next day we drove down to the beach and to a world of tafoni. “What is tafoni?”, you ask. Well if you have been around sandstone, you will probably recognize it, even without its name which means something like cave or perforation. (Fortunately it does not mean anything like food, which subject Oola and I agreed needed a rest.) If you want to know more that you ever wanted to know about tafoni, click here. It is beautiful though and makes for wonderful abstract compositions.
We walked along the beach. Well I walked on a fairly solid path above the beach. Oola scrambled. The mysterious one helped me out of my tight spots. Larry leaped from rock to rock with the ease of a long legged shore bird, and Jenn got close to the breaking surf to gather up that special je-ne-sais-pas that makes one feel so good.
Then there were the pinnipeds. The question of whether they are seals or sea-lions is for better heads than mine, but I think these are Northern Elephant Seals. Oola is sure they don’t care what you call them as long as you leave them a relatively clean ocean with some food in it.
The mysterious Mr. Wildcard says that if you play music for them, they will come to the surface of the water to listen. He proved that to me once long ago, by playing slow tones on his flute. Indeed, the seals came to the surface of the water, turned their heads to us, and listened until he stopped playing. The seals in the picture above responded to the sound I make for Katrin the Great (our cat) when it is time for food. At least the leader did. Wouldn’t want to get any closer to that bruiser! (Many thanks to my long lense.)
That night was full of fantastic stars. And I didn’t even have to go outside to contemplate them.
Saturday morning, and Larry was off to his gig at the pharmacy in Gualala. There he sells strings and instruments and leads an old timey music jam that lasts all day.