Friday, May 28, 2010


There are only two seasons at the Ruins. One of them hatches seagulls, and the other stacks the beach with stormy foam. The walls are paper thin. It was good to hear every sound the wind makes until your ears freeze. Gutters stacked with sleet, and we rolled away to the next thing. Dark plane windows over cold alps, and suddenly, it's the tropical pacific again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


When we first came here, there was some line about a well-worn path to the sea in my head. It's there in real life now, and still in my head. Thoreau used his path to Walden Pond to show how boring and trodden old lines of thought can be. He might be right. But this thigh-deep grass has a leg rut worn right into it, slithering to the swale and out. Above the stepping stones down to the waves, flax leaves flap and the sound of the ocean comes out all at once from behind the bushes. That's where you stand. For as long as it takes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Green Island

A related note of preemptive nostalgia concerns this nubbin of schist off in the bight. It's one of the first things I see from my porch everyday. Or the kitchen window. Or the beach, or the hill. Green Island is usually up to its neck in spray or fog, and always suffused with a perfectly mysterious something-or-other. Very close. Very far.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brighton Bight by Night

No one knows which old Brighton it’s named for. Likely it was some collection of hovels somewhere in lower Britain, probably long since transmogrified into a pomsy Daytona beach. New Brighton smells like woodsmoke. The odd whiff of coal prickles at dusk when the sea mist and stove haze mix. A painted whale inside the round welded bus stop dims away. Porch lights come on, televisions flicker, the sea rolls on and on. Some kids are bored with being fifteen. And some are tired from a glad sunny day of skateboarding down hills full of blind curves. Like the old man at the post office today; “you know ae, another shit day in paradise.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Please buy this magazine.

The next time you're somewhere cool that has it. I decline to link to the B. and N. store. You know who you are.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Intimidating to plop down with a wad of gear in front of this rock. It looms. And it does that on every side. Looking up and out of this box cirque, the round edge of the sky is rimmed by cliffs. They don't call it 'Shadowland' for nothing. But the lizards were there, munching crickets. Flightless weka gnawed our apples. Helicopters win again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Old stuff has to go. It's good when you get to burn it though. From the broken down old house comes hundred-year-old half-rotten native lumber, from the beach, driftwood. A hundred planted pines make charred school papers. From the gliders, balsa. Final flights to combustion. Odd plastic and soggy fleece turn to napalm. Maker's Mark goes down smoother. Fallspring cleaning. Another bittersweet step toward leaving this place.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Glacial Erratics

It's easy to walk among glaciers when it's warm. Head-high boulders dropped from the belly of the monster are commonplace. The whole top half of North America is one giant glacial scar. There's plenty of land up there to bulldoze, but precious little away in the globe's South. One piece of tectonic flotsam was stamped most effectively with U-shaped ice tracks. Huge hardrock wounded valleys. Like slug's trails, shining and not so sinuous. Thank melting for the glory of Fiordland. This year's high summer is long gone now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Merlot Chariot

In 1974 British Leyland Motors made the Triumph TC2000 Estate. All six cylinders, all seventeen feet of her. Then some reckless engineer piped up: “Shall we make that leather couch in the back fold down for more cargo space?” Pure genius.

Wooden dash, eight gears, and a hole in the top that's less a sunroof, more a Universe Roof. It screams 'smoke a cigar at 80 mph in here on the way to the races with Buffy.' Driving this thing is like being that spectacled frog from from The Wind in the Willows. Chick magnet? Yeah, no. But believe me, if this thing could float, I'd be taking it to america.