There are so many coves along the shoreline in Point Lobos State Preserve in Carmel, California, that I am only moderately ashamed that I don’t know the name of this one. I have posted a picture of China Cove previously, with its colors that defy the natural palette. In comparison to the China Cove, this one is a bit pedestrian. If there were no China Cove, however, this unnamed cove very well could be the highlight of the entire shoreline. This is a testament to the beauty of this part of California.
As I’ve mentioned previously, California brings out a creativity in me that North Florida never has. I long to go back, and when I am there, I am always conscious that I must leave. I honestly don’t know if the desire to be in California is simply a desire to be creative at all times, or at the very least to have freedom to be creative.
As I wrote this post, specifically that last paragraph, I thought immediately (as one clearly does it was spent so many years in the Latin classroom) of the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. Although many of Catullus’ poems survive in full, some are only excerpts. One such excerpt, which has been labeled in the modern canon as Carmen LXXXV, is only two lines long but it is powerful in its brevity, its directness, and its meaning: “Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris / Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.”
Roughly translated, this means “I hate, and I love; why do I do this perhaps you ask. / I know not why, but I know it happens, and I am tortured by it.” Although Catullus was speaking about the conflicting feelings he had towards his lover, who he calls Lesbia (her real name was Clodia), and who was the sister of Cicero’s mortal enemy Publius Clodius Pulcher, the second sentence speaks to me in the context of this Cove. I can’t say why the California air draws out the artist in me, nor can I say why the Florida air does not; but I know it happens, and for the time being, I am (if ever so slightly) tortured by it.