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Stories by Mike Humfreville

A Personal Library    ( Posted April 1, 2006 )

We're in Bahia de Los Angeles for a while now. Yesterday a friend came by to suggest that I might be interested in crossing the south end of the bay for a short visit with a fellow living there. The purpose of our visit was not simply social, but to see and scan the contents of a tiny library of literature..

The three of us walked along the beach to the library. It began to rain, a relatively light drizzle on a cool day. Large dark cumulous were filling the sky. Pregnant drops of water fell from the heavens and struck me on my balding pate, trickling down into my beard and all in all feeling good. Rain is relatively rare in the Bay and it was good to be walking the beach with compadres as nature wept. I reflected to my friends the event, in 1974, where a flash flood occurred near our old hut, just up the old road, where we were spending the summer, my wife and I before we had children.

While it is a private building, the library, an exterior closet really, contains many books, new and old, used, some read by many from the looks of their faded pages and jackets. Someone had made a superior effort to organize the books and there were tags placed in the individual shelves indicating the subjects of the associated books, of which there were thousands. The three of us scanned the titles and subject matters. There was no rush, we were all retired and pleased to find interesting events to round out our day.

It was interesting to me to see the various titles and contents. It made me wonder about the personas, lives and experiences of those who had read and then contribute their books to the library. I knew that the words once read had from time to time captivated the reader as part of a perhaps small but receptive audience. To me, it's always interesting, albeit a necessity to understand the writer in the fullest sense I can. We are, a few of us, communicators or at least we desire to be, to bare unanswered thoughts and our souls at times to in some gray way, to enhance our universal understanding of all things known or in some lesser sense, perceived by humankind.

The surrounding houses, scattered along the sandy beach in the shadowed peaks of Punta Roja, were as varied as I assumed their owners were. And the writers as well. Many of the books in our subject library were intended purely for simple entertainment. There were a few reference books, histories and tomes of literary comparisons only a dedicated student would care or dare to read. The inanimate books were just not so. They reflected, actually brought to life, so many issues and concerns and entertainments of both the authors but of the readers as well.

But there is an abundance of time in this setting of the Bay. There is a distinct minimalization of external directly mental stimuli and one's mind commutates until it finds a focus of its own, typically tactile. It is a wonderful, fulfilling sensation, to have the ability to focus on smaller than full-blown issues and concepts that was made available to me. And thus I chew on the more abstract issues presented to me from my two friends audibly and the many authors who have documented their thoughts for future generations.

There is a break in the rain. Bright sun is flashing on the small swells of the south end. Clouds, moments before ominous and threatening, are now billowing into wide patches of blue sky. Suns rays are turning the black water into turquoise, the lands' alluvial fans tan in the midday and after the darkness of a fully clouded and darkened sky.

I departed my friends where I'd found them, each at their home. I passed back through the estuary, free of tidal flows for the moment and dampened only by the rain. I followed the path of least resistance, bearing along the narrow prints and small indentions left for me by the cattle from the Diaz Ranch. In my mind they were escorting me home toward Mary Ann, where magically Michael, Kevin and Carly might just appear in the next few days. I was filled with the issues of morning at Bahia de Los Angeles, burdened by authors styles and subjects, and wondering if this slight rain would turn our million hectares of shared desert a riper green with Ocotillo and Cirio flowering, and, still learning, about the contents racing around inside the heads of my thinking friends with which I'd shared this mild if intellectual adventure.

Too much time is an impossibility if you have an imagination.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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