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Carmel Tide Pools


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Today’s painting is from Carmel-by-the-sea, a place I keep coming back to for it’s picturesque sea-swept beaches and twisted Monterey pines overlooking the cliffs.  It’s a lonely place, despite the overcrowded little lots, because very few of the people who own the houses actually live there anymore.  There are many rentals, of course, lots of tourists who will cough up a month’s rent to visit (city has outlawed weekly rentals I think, also high heels, ask the former mayor, Clint Eastwood, make his day)  There’s always shivering children in wetsuits and dogs of course, thousands of dogs of all shapes and sizes, but mostly wet ones.  Aside from the surreal march of shoppers on the main streets, the whole place descends into a stately emptiness.  One of the local landmarks is Tor House and Hawk Tower a stone tower built by the famous poet Robinson Jeffers 1887-1962 (here’s his pic, he doesn’t look like anyone you know).  Jeffers spent many years walking down to the beach, and carrying stone up to build a forty-foot tower alone and by hand because he wanted to learn stonemasonry and give his sons a cool hideout to play in.  I don’t think he ever stopped stonework again between the house and the tower and the rest of the estate, something was always under construction.  Here’s a segment of his poem ‘an artist’ 

Those children of my hands are tortured, because they feel,'
he said, 'the storm of the outer magnificence.
They are giants in agony. They have seen from my eyes
The man-destroying beauty of the dawns over their notch
yonder, and all the obliterating stars.
But in their eyes they have peace. I have lived a little and I
Peace marrying pain alone can breed that excellence in the
luckless race, might make it decent
To exist at all on the star-lit stone breast.

I hope,' he said, 'that
when I grow old and the chisel drops,
I may crawl out on a ledge of the rock and die like a wolf.'

Speaks to me somehow, there is an obstinate, solitary, cosmic battle in art somewhere.  Or at least there’s obstinate, solitary, cosmically superpowered battlers.  (or should that have read ‘comically’)  I dunno, Xander would probably sentence Jeffers to a life of enforced ease and comfort simply because the dude couldn’t make two words rhyme to save his life.  

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