I thought once I’d never get the island out of my head, that it would haunt me for the leaving. I was a boy the first time I found myself enraptured by Mull’s mystical beauty, and a man by the time I’d found the strength to leave its heart-folding shores. I might have been lost, a gypsy, more detached than the best of beggars.
Learning a new trick, a new set of rules, accepting that beauty has no single place, and that a Cimmerian shore doesn’t have to hold my heart, that life is better when damned by the rainbow, and so it was I found Mendocino. Its spell caught my heart and soul, scattering every trial of guilt. You won’t find Mendocino on the lid of a chocolate box, with snow in its streets on Christmas Eve, but a life would have to be large enough to cope with the strength and beauty of its shoreline.
Its historic town-scape, the post office, the library, the school, and the grocery store, sit alongside more modern structures that do not detract from the town’s sorrowful length of history to a man born of Vikings. Yet the pathways, hills, bluffs that don’t bluff, or boast, but stimulate and inspire, along the winding road of adventurers. Its a bouquet of scenery quite as stunning, as aromatic, as fragile and rugged as nature designed.
Mendocino spits on my poetry, soaking into the soil, daring me to write…to feed its disgust, looking to gobble up the next syllable, sneering dissatisfaction, until my forehead is flushed with embarrassment. Mendocino…welcomes dirty jeans, dilutes stinking air surrounding sleeping homeless. I stretch out my arms, folding them around youth and erudite, water tanks, cemeteries, dirt paths, overgrown vegetation, and colorful gardens all set amidst the rocks, cliffs, ocean, at the mouth of the river. I pull its beauty in, inhaling my neighbor’s marijuana, the stranger’s city dirt, no longer broken, a gypsy, but a child still, sighing harmonica notes…with an endless desire to cry for its welcome.