Hippie Squared: Secret Beach & Sweet Elise Answers

Sweet Elise on Secret BluffsEarlier in the week our friend directed us to a secret beach north of Malibu.

When we came over the mountains and saw the ocean, at first look it was almost gray in the late afternoon sun. It was cut by hills, and off to the right it looked even more gray. Until we realized that off to the right we were seeing clouds, hanging over the ocean. “Clouds are really just an ocean in the sky,” said Elise.

We climbed a trail to the bluffs above the secret beach. We brought wine but no glasses, so we passed the bottle back and forth. We ate cheese and pate and crackers, cherries and grapes. Dark chocolate truffles and a chocolate eclair. We held hands, we kissed. We shared our secret silence on the secret bluffs above the secret beach.

We watched the hawks soar, the pelicans glide, and the gulls flap. We saw creatures out in the ocean and tried to decide if they were dolphins or seals. In the end, I believe we decided they were both: those with dorsal fins were dolphins, those with flat fin tails were seals.

And we watched the whole colorful progress of the sunset, from the orange ball of fire sitting on the horizon, to the pink wisps of clouds trailing above the horizon after the ball of fire fell below it, to the deep dusk that gave us more secret space for deeper secret kisses.

It was sort of an early Valentine’s Day outing. And that’s where this photo comes from.

I think that occasion and this photo well match the following poem, which I wrote many years ago, and which I also recited at our wedding five years ago.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweet Elise!

Sweet Elise Answers (How Else Can I Put It?)

How else can I put it?
Except to say
That at my center always seethes
A molten core of crazy questions
That over slow pressure of years
Has shifted my crusted, creaking plates;
And sometimes quakes my quiet mantle;
Or crashes my earth in fierce eruptions
That threaten my innocent towns and villages

How else can I put it?
Except to say
That in my meeting and fusing with you
Half a sweet crazed dozen
Of all the most pressing questions my life could ever pose
Were answered at once;
My center smoothed over, my surface slowed;
And all my town and village doorways
Filled with silent listeners

Craning forward to hear the leaves
Brushing green paintings on the sky