Through the generosity of an anonymous source, Brian and I (Cole, Esther, and friends that came to visit while we were there), had the privilege of spending a few days at Crystal Cove state park in Laguna Beach–a couple weeks back. Crystal Cove is a place fond to all of my maiden and Bent family. Essentially, “the Cove”, as we call it, took part in molding and shaping each of my siblings and I into who we were, are, and will be. I was born in 1970, the true year my family began (my humble estimation of course), but I am told my parents and the elder siblings ventured to our private coastal get away in the years preceding me. As a child of the Cove, we had freedom that sadly my own children have not had the opportunity to experience. It was a private beach and to ensure the privacy of its residents, Alan (and his little mutt of a dog “Ocious”–short for ferocious), patrolled the beach, the road, and the homes on foot (and bike) with a shotgun under his arm or slung over his shoulder. I don’t remember having boundaries of any sort while there. I’m sure, in my infancy and toddler-hood, I was more closely watched. But as a child I had the uninhibited ability to roam the coast and tide-pools at my leisure…as did us all. As an adolescent, the roaming continued even though the beach had lost its “privacy status” as it was traded from the Irvine family and given over to the state of California in 1979. Even so, our mindset was that it was ours. And Alan continued his antics though now the state park rangers had something to say about his shotgun totting ways.
Throughout my 42 years I have experienced love at the Cove, loss at the Cove, joy, sadness, adventure, little green men, perverse men fondling themselves in the crevices of the cliff, starfish, abalone, shells, dolphins, whales, sea lions, seagulls, pelicans, lobster traps, skunks, movie stars, common folk, driftwood, sea life, tar, splinters, stickers from plants, etc.
I have had every kind of holiday, through out the years, at the Cove. Had sibling fights, watched siblings break things, like a foot and glass, jammed my toes on the boardwalk more times than necessary, fell in love, fell out of love, fell in love again. Attended one, two, three–(whose counting?)–weddings. Had parties, played volleyball, rode horses, lit fireworks, learned about drugs and the city of Newport jail, learned about chorizo and eggs, and had my first fruit smoothie in the Benson house. I would go on, but at this point I am truly only indulging myself with the memories, and if I continue, I will get lost and unable to find my way back to the point of this post!
Nowadays the homes are called cottages, and they are for rent to the general public. So to treat my weary soul, my anonymous donor sent me and my family off to the Cove and we basked in the serenity of the sea life and the slow pace required to do “nothing”. I confess that one day, when Brian and I were alone, we both felt awkward. Mostly because we were both accustomed to having friends (whom we considered like family) to interact with, either at their home or on the beach. So we found ourselves a bit uneasy, until the evening when several of the former residents had come to the Cove to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend. Finally, the hustle and bustle of catching up with friends and having people in and out made us calm down and rest–as was the intent of our being there. And when the patriarch of the “Yacht Club” rustled the feathers of the park ranger, as was his custom when living there, I knew I was home. But then the party was over and the group packed up and left. Thankfully Esther and two friends showed up for a sleepover, so when we all awoke in the morning the house was full of life and interaction…just as I remember.
Which brings me to a place where I need to wrap up this writing. I honestly don’t remember the original intent of my starting it. Did I want to impart something profound about rest? Was I going to simply share the experience? Did I have a comedic angle? …questions that will linger unanswered; for life has again resumed at a rate too great for me to keep hold of. So instead of conveying drops of wisdom or truth, I will simply leave with a photo collage of our few days respite at Crystal Cove State Park. The locale of my formative years, and the locale my ashes will receive upon my departure from this world. …it has served me well.