I’ll Follow The Sun


 

The ‘60’s were a time of revolt, of challenging expectations, regimentation, and the ideas of “the establishment.” This revolt took place on many levels. Typically, it began at the level of rejecting parental values and control. I, for one, refused to see race and racial stereotypes as justification for parental control. In fact, when my parents threatened to stop helping me pay my college expenses unless I moved out of the apartment which I shared with a college buddy, a college buddy who just happened to be black, well, that was the siren call for me to drop out of school and, in the summer of ’69, follow the path of “California Dreaming.”

Huntington Beach
June 22, `69

“Hi. Are you from around here?” she said. I momentarily
stopped kicking the beach sand to see a tanned body in a bikini
smiling up at me from her blanket. “No, just traveling through,” I
said, as I kept on walking.

I was hitchhiking up to Los Angeles when
the weather broke. From the car I had been riding in I could see a
beach full of sunbathers. I told the driver I hadn’t seen that much
sun since I arrived in California, and I told him I wanted out.

“Where you from?” she said. She had curiosity written all
over her face as she looked at my army duffel bag thrown over my
shoulder. “Michigan,” I said, as I caught myself staring into her
innocent eyes. “I’m heading up the coast,” I said. The more I looked
at her the more beautiful she became. “Do you mind if I take a load
off?” My butt had already hit the sand and I had one shoe off before
she was able to reply, “What do you do for a living?” I told her I
didn’t do anything for a living. I told her that I just find odd
jobs when I need money. As we talked, she made me forget about the
uncertainty and discomfort that led up to this moment. Lighting a
cigarette and rubbing my toes in the warm sand, I told her that I
just got up one morning and started following the sun. When I
reached the West Coast, I turned north and I’m still following the
sun.

She was just what I needed to cheer me up. When the
conversation trailed off a bit, I stuck my cigarette butt in the
sand and said, “Somewhere down the beach there’s a spot with my name
on it. That’s where I’m going to roll out my sleeping bag and get
some shut eye before the sun sinks any lower.” As I walked away, I
glanced back toward the sound of her voice. I could still see her
deep blue eyes when she said, “You are so lucky. I wish I could do
whatever I wanted to.” I smiled back at her, turned, and kept on
walking.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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