The ocean and creation.

I live near the sea. And over the last few years, I have often sat on some steps near the water, lyric book in hand, pen at the ready, possibly even a guitar by my side and waited. I've waited for the waters to feed the muse, and with each incoming wave, my hopes rise that the sea will spur a song title or a lyrical line or a melody or chord.

The waves are small where I sit, because my perch is a set of bleachers built into the hill above a bay. But I think these small waves have more to offer than the larger ones out beyond the Golden Gate, the break in the mountains that forms the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. For these are the waves that made it through that Gate, the pushed and survived against against the outflowing current, which is fed by the Delta, which is fed by the American and Sacramento rivers, which are fed by the Sierra Nevada mountains, and flow cold with snowmelt for much of the year.

As the small waves wash over the sand, they bring forth ideas, leave them for a minute on the sand, then replace them with new ones. It is a process of constant renewal. My job, like a lifeguard, is to jump after the ones worth saving, the ones strong enough to have survived the upcurrent journey through the Golden Gate, yet not so far gone that they are breaking -- literally -- as they hit shore.

And I confess, there is something else I do near water's edge. Every now and then, I take my shoes or sandals off, and I walk across the narrow beach and stand ankle deep in the ever-renewing waters. My hope: that somehow, someway, the water will renew me, fill me with health and wash away my vertigo and other discomforts. So far, no luck, but at the least the songs keep coming.