Water and Salt
I was born near the canals in Venice, California and spent my early childhood ensconced in them and the sweet pacific ocean that they feed. There we were an interior designer, an English transplant, a lasa shitzu and two private school going children, totally outnumbered by the scruffy beach goers, the pot smokers, the skaters, exhibitionists, and hippies that inhabited Venice in the early 70's. There were hells angles, and weight lifters, fortune tellers and merchants, drop outs, artists, musicians and magicians all of which writhed and basked in that gorgeous smog induced glow and unsurpassed eclecticism which shown it's influence in my life in numerous ways since.
Water ways, crumbling sidewalks, weeds, and silt wound around us as children, it stuck to our freckled limbs, marked our tiny frames with nicks and gauges, architected our play and my dreams to this day as we sank deep into the warm and sometimes dangerous folds of its once utopian body, accompanied by the ducks, dogs, sea snails.
Crabs were caught in traps off the pier in dawn expeditions fueled by thermoses of hot chocolate and promises of crab for dinner. The light was that lavender blue and cold, the beaten up splintery wood of the pier covered in chum, slime and fish hooks, and we caught loads of crabs. Later there would be the death rattle of those crabs, the clanging and scratching, the furious scramble as they tried with all their might to escape the impenetrable sides of the boiling cauldron that our mothers had dropped them in, liking their lips...as those poor creatures slowly grew silent.
There was mussel beach where the steroid induced bodies, bronzed and wedged into tiny tiny shorts strutted their over inflated parts, bending and huffing and sweating while my dad, my brother and I sat in the bleachers eating our hot dogs and watching...as was our sunday routine.
Many exceedingly rich days were spent covered in sand, and worshipping that ocean which had taken me out to sea one time, and then returned me safely before authorities had to be called. We loved the ocean with a ferocity to equal it's own.
On the way back from the beach, we often stopped in a sliver of a bar, a dark red slit in the wall of obnoxious beach shops that lined the street leading to the pier. Dripping wet in our little swim suits, covered in sand we would shuffle in across the saw dust floor, into the unnaturally dark red hole, and head to the thing that drew us in...the pop corn machine. While taking turns we would chat politely to the men propping up the bar with their stiff leather outfits smelling like old smoke and liquor. Only much later did I hear that it was a famous hells angles hang out. The crumbling walkways of those canals were as characterful, thrilling and dangerous as the people that inhabited them.
Thats just the beginning. I'll describe more later. Its fun to think about the origin of things. You'll see. It all starts to fit together, the then and the now.