Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hermitage Artist Retreat: Day 5

Normally, I'm not much of a beach person (too sandy) and I fear the sea as one would fear the cold airless void of the interplanetary vacuum--a dangerous medium that can easily kill you if not approached it with a considerable amount of respect and preparation. However, yesterday was flawless--mid 80s, low breeze, glassy turquoise water--so I braved the beastly sea. I spent 10 minutes slathering sunscreen on my pallid, freckly Anglo-Germanic torso, put on my hat and glasses, found a beach mat and towel and walked the 200 feet from my studio to the ocean. I eased in. There is a trough in the sand just behind where the waves break that brought the water up to mid-chest (of course, that made me a little uneasy) but the ocean floor rose quickly after and the water then sunk to a delightfully manageable waist-high.  Scattered about were clumps of brown sea grass that looked suspiciously like sharks to me--I would stare at them until I confirmed they were indeed just grass and not some remorseless, black-eyed murder-fish looking to devour my calves. After a few minutes, I began to relax and enjoy myself--I sat/knelt on the sand and allowed myself to be buoyed about by the gentle waves, I'd dig up a big clam shell with my toes and then skip it across the water. You know, queer Jack Johnson-type shit like that.

About fifteen minutes in, I'm starting to get a little bored. Intent on heading in, I stand up with my back to the shore and look out to the horizon. I look down and see what I think is an unusually large clump of sea grass (aka megalodon.) It quickly becomes evident that this large clump of sea grass is coming directly toward me in a purposeful way. I freeze and, at a distance of about five feet, a manatee sticks its head out the water, snorts, and then turns 90 degrees and swims south, parallel to the beach.

After being frightened by a polite docility of a sea cow, I spent the rest of the day in the dry, self-indulgent embrace of the studio. I added another six characters to the Pale Alphabet (geleph, deleph, ravyem, am-wullum, a mob and osced) and started sketching out ideas for an album cover by the band Holy Man.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Manatee was very inspiring. Hope you are glad you ventured out into the unknown.