Shelter in Paradise by Lizard

Published on 1 August 2003 in Discovery (Please wait)


There is a place in paradise, right in the heart of the outskirts of downtown paradise matter of fact, called surfer’s point. Paradise in this case being Ventura, California, and despite my limited perspective, I’d challenge anyone to come visit and refute my allegation that it is, indeed, heaven here on earth.

It was a year and a half ago when I first found the driftwood shelter. I was on my way to drop off my daughter at work downtown when three very, very large helicopters flew by very low overhead. After dropping she off I took a detour by surfer’s point, to see what I could see.

My son and I wandered down to surfer’s point, down the rocky, eroded beach path, and the boy had great fun picking up rocks and throwing them at other rocks. During this time the helicopters were flying in a circular pattern over the water, from several miles offshore to right over the beach and back.

We got down to the point, and discovered an interesting structure made of driftwood, perhaps a vacation dwelling of Primitive Beach Man, or Beachopithicus. The circle of rocks in front of the open side suggested a place to build a fire, but no evidence of recent combustion was found, suggesting that as time went on, more sophisticated tribes, Homo Beachus, for instance, discovered that fire drew too much attention to certain activities, I’ll leave those to your imagination.

We never did find out whether the searching helicopters made their intended rescue, but we did return to the driftwood structure several more times that winter, winter in paradise being 70 degrees and sunny, just like every other season, more or less.

In the time between that discovery and now, much has changed. My son, now six, still loves the beach, but prefers the area nearer the pier where there are swing sets and other children; far from the isolation that is surfer’s point. but when I go to the beach to renew the things in my self that need that sort of thing, I head straight for the driftwood shelter, always marveling at the changes made to this ongoing public art/entertainment project. It has grown now to perhaps three times the size it was when I first found it, and is nowhere near as cozy, however it would now comfortably seat a good size bonfire group, and I very much enjoy the imagining of a warm summer night filled with crackling flames and cool salty air and warm laughter. why I am not there tonight is no mystery, my life has taken turns that preclude that sort of whimsical outing; however I can safely say I live for the day when I can return free and unencumbered by my current burdens, to build a fire with friends and even a lover, if that is possible (it may or may not be, but that is another story entirely) and laugh and sing to the summer night and live the dream that is life, here, in paradise.

Lizard (Ventura, California, USA). Check out Lizard’s website.

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