Caged

We are constantly invited to be who we are.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Today I made myself step out of my comfort zone. That zone is at home, doting over my animals, napping, watching movies, and thinking about writing. Very little of the latter it seems. But I was lucky enough to be able to take some time off, so I went over to the coast. It’s not a luxurious drive, but a 10 minute meander down a hill into Pacifica, CA, and a walk along the Pacific Ocean.

Pacifica is kind of odd, and you have to look for its gems. If you can look past the people that weird you out — like the addict nursing his Budweiser just outside the cafe where you are sipping on your espresso, or the trippy ZZ Top-looking guy taking his daily stroll along the ocean. It reminds me of the dirtier parts of Arcata, CA, where I grew up.

ZZ Top asks me what I like to take pictures of, because I have my camera, and I reply “lots of things.” He says “you should take a picture of that red-tailed hawk over there…” and so I try, but he flies away before I can get a good pic. But I’m grateful to him for pointing it out, and he keeps walking.

I sat for a long time on the beach, on a rock that made my ass hurt, settled in among the trash, feathers, dead crabs, and broken shells. I made myself write a page in my handwritten journal, and I was going to read these fabulous nature book I had brought along, but that will wait for tomorrow. I was content to watch a gull playing keep away with a starfish.

It felt good to get out of my cage. In fact, my birds I keep at home seem to be an analogy for my life. I can see that I am free, that I have wings, and that there is a lot of the sky and earth to explore. But I’m content to stay within my routine, what I know, and at night I close the door and stare into my little mirror and ring my little bell. It’s my mind that has bars around it, and it seems that every day that passes I pick away at them with a file. I know I can change.

I ended my mini-outing on a bench just in front of San Andreas lake, nibbling on half a sandwich and listening to the traffic just behind me on Skyline Boulevard. That’s where I seem to live, straddling the line between urbanity and sanity.