Travelogue: Catalina Island

To kick off summer, I travelled to Catalina Island off the coast of sunny southern California. Leaving the laptop at home, not checking email or updating facebook or writing blog posts was part of the goal — to leave it all behind, just for a few days, and let the slowness of island life sink into my skin on the sand.
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Most moments were lazing moments, gazing out at the sea, clear green-blue water brimming with orange garibaldi fish and tiger-striped bass – reading a paperback and drinking in the cool wind off the water, the warm sun. Others were spent hiking and biking up hills, then flying back down them again, heart pumping and eyes wide, exhilarated. Kicking back with a glass of wine at happy hours, watching the light glimmer and change over the waves, the boats rocking in the harbor, and the people walking on the beach. Listening to the quiet chatter in spanish, english, and japanese around me, the hissing & hushing sibiliants mixing with the constant sound of the waves lapping on the rocks.

It was a few days of freedom, a few days of paradise on an island that is home to a little over 4,000 and a day trip for many who live in mainland California. Others, like myself, travel to its sunny shores from farther off lands — reveling in its slower pace and unadorned beauty.

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Should you visit, you’ll want to try the fish tacos at Mama Roses, grace happy hour at at least three different restaurants on the beach (Bluewaters was my favorite) and rent a bike (mountain, electric or a golf cart) to explore the inner parts of the island.

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In the 1920s and 30s, Wrigley brought the Chicago Cubs to the island for spring training, which was where he made his summer home. The Wrigley home is now a bed and breakfast, and where it sits high up on the rocks, it boasts arguably the best view of the island. At happy hour one day, a waiter told me that Wrigley positioned his home there because it offers the most sunlight -making it the first home to be painted with sunlight at dawn, and the last to lose its rays at dusk. The windows always remained free of any curtains, allowing the sunlight to penetrate through the entire home.c196385eff82222b316b89d69b7036b9

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You’ll find the Wrigley Memorial building at the top of the botanical gardens, with many exotic looking desert plants and paths to explore. If you are drawn to the sea, take a glass bottom boat ride or view the fish from inside a semi-submersible submarine. If you like adventure, ride a zip line or take an eco-tour to see the 150 bison that roam the island. The bison were brought in to the island by a film crew in the 1920s, and have flourished – at one point numbering over 400 on the island, but over half were relocated to an indian reservation in North Dakota because they were eating too much of the island’s vegetation. The island spends a lot of time and money on conservation, and a visit to the nature center is worth the stop to learn about the varied plants and animals on the island as well as the challenges they face. See this link for more info: https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/

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Catalina Island is a place for lovers, families, singles – a place for outdoor enthusiasts and beach bums, a place where you can choose to do absolutely nothing or many things. It’s a place rich with beauty, history and languages. It’s people will flow and change with the tide, and eventually, even the island itself may recede into the sea with the passing of time. But for now it remains a place of sunny respite from the pace of city life, where you can relax and enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the boats bobbing slowly, up and down in the waves.Here are some online resources for Catalina Island:

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I’ve had a lovely start to my summer, and hope that you have as well. It’s hot here at home in Louisiana, which means many days spent pool side and others seeking an air-conditioned respite from 100 degree temperatures. I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day holiday — posts to come this week will be book reviews, and, with a little time to write, a new poem. Happy Summer!
http://www.catalinachamber.com/
http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/
http://www.visitcatalina.org/
http://ecatalina.com/

I’m a poet, not a f*cking housecleaner

I’m dedicating this poem to all parents out there – especially Moms – who find ourselves with so much work to do, inside and outside of the home. It’s hard to give ourselves permission (and since when do we need f*cking permission?!)  to do the things we really want, the things our souls need. To be able to just say no — just let the dishes sit there for a while, let the phone or the mail or the errand wait — and do what our hearts desire. George Carlin’s dirty words somehow catapulted me into being able to say “That Shit can wait” today — for the few minutes it took me to write this poem, and some time after. Can I get a hell yeah? 😉 So, thanks to Michael over at Toads (who posted the writing prompt I’m responding to) and to George for the laughs and the inspiration.

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I’m a poet, not a f*cking housecleaner

Midway to the door, notebook & pen in hand
I stop.
Laundry sits, shirts and trousers and socks and underwear
in a mixed pile, floor littered with breakfast crumbs.
Mail strewn on the desk, legos and stuffed animals in the hall.

So what? I think. “So What.” I say it out loud.
“That Shit can wait.” Tastes good on my tongue.

Today, I’m going to write
and not feel sorry about it.
Nope. Not for one Motherf*cking minute.
“Did you hear that?” I tell the powder & navy blue school shirts,
the muffin crumbs, the sticky counters, the block towers.
“I’m going to write.”

I put the kettle on, step out into the sunshine
in my comfy yoga pants and too-big t-shirt
hair freshly washed, messy curls
falling around my face
no make-up, no shoes.
Acoustic guitar tunes on my stereo
I turn the dial up loud
laughing, that might Piss off the neighbors
but the moment feels too good, so I ignore the voice in my head
that tells me to stop, turn it down, go back in and do something else
“F*ck off.” I say out loud. “This is what I’m doing.”

Sitting in the sunshine, just me and my pen
writing dirty words
washing me clean
opening my soul.

Copyright May 20 2016 Stacie Eirich 

Here’s George Carlin’s video that inspired the writing prompt today over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. It’s hilarious and will give you many laughs to start off your weekend with! Have a great one.

 

Swimming

Water is often an inspiration for me, and I find this week that has been especially true. Perhaps it is because I’m a Pisces that I’ve always loved to be in the rain, to feel the water on my skin and smell it in the air. Yesterday, though the sky was filled with grey clouds, I went for a swim. The act of swimming opened my senses and propelled me to write this poem.
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Submerged in ice cold water
I swim through waves, ripples
gliding through water with my arms
pushing through blacks bugs
floating on the surface
brought in from the rains.

I needed to feel this today, needed the chill
to wake me, free me, make me alive.

Diving under, sounds fill underneath
swept into a watery vacuum
the water is too blue, heavy with chlorine
too full, brimming at the walls
nearly breaching the surface.

I emerge, dripping, cold
the pool is empty
I stay to write.

Listening to sounds of small birds
singing in the trees around me
cars passing, a young child playing.
the cawing of a black crow
it flies from tree to tree gracefully
spreading its black wings.

I need the solitude of this hour.

The ever present sound of semi-trucks
humming on the highway behind me
the sun hides itself behind grey clouds
they move ominously, darkening
threatening a storm to come.

I put away my pen
ease into the waters depths
a few more laps
then I will depart
raindrops on my back
the yellow school bus
trundling down the road
bringing my children
home.

Copyright May 19 2016 Stacie Eirich