The smell of the redwoods
deep, remote, pervasive
a small grove
in the vastness
of everything else.
Yet here
before the coastline
breaks through the foliage
the small grove
seems to say
"far enough."
The coast
protected only by the vagaries
of steep fragile bluffs
and fog-bound seasons
feels no pity
and strike no bargains
except with those elemental forces
whose "come no closer"
is framed
by its breathtaking shoreline.
The town of Mendocino
sensibly grabs onto this landscape
gracefully makes tribute
to the sea
and is thankful
for the scarce allotment
ceded to it.
weathered buildings without vanity
accept their subservience
gather tightly together
providing shelter
for the few
who are willing
to leave everything behind
if only for the moment.
These few
some with trepidation
confront one of nature's
most awe-inspiring spectacles --
the ceaseless struggle
of land, sky, and ocean
never a winner
never a conclusion
always a tomorrow.
Entering this town
in this place
is no accident
the unconscious seeks itself
stripped of daily hometown tasks
cut off from the manic rampages
of humanity's
civilized purposes.
Here all elements unite
no artifice survives
here we become one again
know how it could be
if only . . . .
There are no good-byes in Mendocino.
Times closes behind us
when we leave
on the long road home.
The ancient redwoods
are no longer merciful.
- Charles Martell


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