Big Sur

A hand-breaking chill. A cup of steaming coffee. Its silver breath lassos the sun, tightens its grip on red-black flares that quickly spew warmth on the crooked coast of Big Sur. Impatient with the 20-degree dawn, you gesture to hit Highway 1 again, snaking northward to Paradise. At the ocean, you dared me to rebuild Jeffers’ stone tower, its sights fixed on the sweeping purple-pink clouds that swayed like prairie grasses. When I pass through those grasses, I listen to hawks recite my pledge: To precision-cut each stone, tattooing it with your timeless name, Original Friend.

(Robinson Jeffers, one of the great American modernist poets, built a stone tower by hand, known as Tor House, near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.)

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