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My Week With Catalina

catalina-mistTo My Catalina,

The wind whips tears into my eyes. That is what I tell the others as we watch your shores dwindle and vanish into the peacock-hued horizon. The ferry, with a cheerful hoot, leads me farther away from you, so far, so far. Was it only a week ago that we first met, my cold feet sopping from the gray lapping waters as I stepped onto your fog encrusted isle? It is an eternity, as if you had always known me, every part of me. That moment when you enfolded me within your arms, your moored boats nodding reassuringly to a weary and spirit sore traveller, that moment I knew. I knew I could right myself here. I could be free. I could be me.

catalina-gardenI took advantage of your welcome, tramping unheeded on your companionship, happy to take whatever you gave. You gave unstintingly from the wild nooks of your beige-green knolls to the delicate florets of your garden. How did you perform such magic so that my blind stumbles transmuted into daily journeys of wonder? These were the perfect days of my life when, without knowing what I wanted, I received love in abundance.

catalina-harborIt is a hackneyed phrase, but a heart can break through parting. Mine is shattering like an overheated balloon. All the while, I am thinking, “When will I see you again? When will I return?” Was there a moment…no…I won’t ask you that, the answer may not be what I want. Instead, I’ll tell myself that you looked inconsolable too at our farewell. Those few drops I felt on my shoulder, surely they were your tears.

catalina-treeI shall notice you now in everything familiar, in the roughness of the round beach pebbles, in the prickly stems of the cactus leaves, in that interminable silver cloak of brume you insisted upon donning each morning. I shall see your soul everywhere and while doing anything I shall be repeating, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I am already saying it with every surge and ebb of the waves that pull me from you towards the California mainland. Now you can no longer hear me say the words to you I shall say them habitually. It shall be my mantra against the unknown. I am afraid. Glaring ambiguity swells through me, uncertainty swirls around me. Where do we go from here? What course is charted for you and I? You remain mute, unconcerned, while I plot and scheme for ways to return to you tomorrow, next week, the month after. Tell me there is hope for us, Catalina. Tell me you will always reserve a place for me, the stranger who loves you, to whom you returned self and psyche and life. I cannot say anymore to you; do I need to? You know my essence and with you I have never needed words.

Always Yourscatalina-casino


TRAVEL NOTE:

The Art Deco style Catalina Casino dominates the scenery of the island’s capital city Avalon. Built in 1929 by American chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley Jr., the casino was the first movie theater built for “talkies” (films with accompanying soundtrack). An acoustic virtuoso, the resplendent cinema hosted iconic film producers Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, and Samuel Goldwin at many of their premiers. The auditorium continues to showcase newly released titles to captivated audiences.


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35 replies »

  1. I have amazing memories of Catalina island, but perhaps not the eloquently poetic ones you expressed so beautifully here. I learned to fly in San Diego and one of the trips I had to make as part of training was to the island. It’s used as a purposeful training exercise because its runway is positioned in such a way that requires precision and a steady heart. You approach it cliffside. The touchdown demands exactness or an immediate meeting of one’s maker. Also, there is a hump in the middle of the runway, which makes it appear much, much shorter than it is, and unless you know of this beforehand, as a pilot, you begin to feel like all your calculations were in error and the runway is running out far too soon.
    Ah, Catalina island. Shaved a few years off my life. But I was amazed nonetheless.

    • 😆 Oh my! That is a vastly different way of experiencing the island! Of course only Catalina would dare to have a runway that requires both accuracy and a hump that makes one believe one has made a miscalculation. Since you survived the ordeal, you must be an ace pilot and I am quite willing to find you at the helm of any plane I take.

  2. Long ago and far away but just a glimpse of your opening photo and I was there again! 🙂 I couldn’t have said it better. Not lost in the mist of my memories.

    • Thank you! I hope you get to visit the Casino and perhaps take in a film there inside the Avalon Theater, it is a fun experience. They have a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the casino as well which goes over its rich entertainment history.

  3. Ahh…beautiful Catalina. I have very fond memories of my visit there and in fact write about it in my book. So long ago, I hope that perhaps oneday I shall return also. You write a soulful, almost melancholic tribute to this treasure of an island. Just lovely, thank you for taking me back there for a few moments this morning…

    • You are welcome Sherri. 🙂 I felt I belonged to this little island and I was incredibly sad to leave, a feeling rare in my travels. I shall have to read what your experiences were like in Catalina from your book!

      • Well I thank you very much my friend! I am honoured that you would want to read my book 🙂 It was wonderful to read your post about Catalina, I felt your sadness in leaving but also your joy at having visited and in the part of you that has never left!

      • Yes, otherwise I would never have known. I’m going to blog about Newfoundland but I won’t mention Catalina as I only took a photo of the road sign because I taught a student by that name and wanted to show her somewhere named after her, or so I told her.

  4. Awesome place Catalina…there are various types of landscapes : from water to mountain… and colours from blue to green… and i also thinking a good and fresh air…that give lots of calm and relaxing time to all the visitors 🙂

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