Run! Grunion! Run!

"I sing the body electric, I celebrate the me yet to come
I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the sun:
And I'll look back on Venus
I'll look back on Mars
And I'll burn with the fire of ten million stars
And in time:And in time:We will all be stars"

~Wade Lassister's lyrics adapted from Walt Whitman's: I Sing The Body Electric

While a bright colored blanket of short skirt clad teeny bopper girls who haven't figured out how to wear high heals yet and the boys that chase them, were bouncing from bar to bar on lower state street, hoping to get laid:my 12 years old son and went to Leadbetter beach at midnight to watch the Grunion run.

When I was a kid in Santa Monica I remember the ritual of taking a bucket, shovel and a strainer to see the Grunion run. Santa Monica has a flat broad shoreline and the Grunion used to flood the shore by the millions creating a sequin-like-silvery-glistening shoreline. We never caught them, probably because if we did then we would have to eat them!

At around 10:15 Thursday night my son and I drove to the beach. I was way more excited than him:way more. When we arrived there were several people dotting the coastline:but no grunion.
We met a nice guy sittin on a 5-gallon pickle bucket. We asked him if he was waiting for Grunion and he said yes. He expected a run at midnight. My son and I discussed it and decide to go to the all-night 7/11 and get some cocoa and then return and try again.

That 7/11 is a little bit "skanky" but we managed. Sometimes I do not like how some men look at my son, just irks me. Gross little-weenie-pedophile-hermunculi:yuck:Needless to say if had to I would punch one of these little "MoFo's":but we were spared:just stares and whispers:who are these guys anyhow?
We got our cocoa and my "blonde" coffee and we skedaddled.

Back at the beach there were more people standing in the moonlight gazing at the shoreline. Some had headlamps and flashlights! (Argh!) I told my son this was really "touristy" and rather unkind to the little fish.I mean it is bad enooughto hunt the little guys,do we need to blind them as well? A purist would let the moonlight show them where the fish were. Some cruel loud little women (from New Jersey no doubt) were chasing the fish with their flashlights on the shore:tacky tourists!

Hey I can say this. I pay enough to live here. I can say tacky tourists! Tacky tourists! Tacky tourists! Now that feels better...ahhhh...

At just about midnight a few small runs occurred. We discussed it with the young guy with the bucket who agreed the flashlight were declasse'. He said the lean or rake of the shoreline upward made it hard beach for the fishies to run in. He said Carp Beach was better.

My son and I only stayed until 12:20. We maybe saw about 50 of the 6-inch long eel like fish. We were only there to observe and not to fish. I just wanted my wee boy to see the spectacle. To see what I saw when I was his age. Alas the run was small. My son's theory was that this was an intimate party of grunion and that the big bash was in Carpenteria. Being that they have a long flat shore. If they are running in August we may try it again there. I got a couple of pictures. Not an easy feet dodging the surf at night with a camera.

Glad to be home and look:one of my favorite movies is on, "Contact" :and my favorite Bob Zemeckis film. It touches me so deeply. I think because after my brother died when I was 13: I had decided he was a star within a constellation. That he watched over me from above. And that somehow, on the night of the full moon, when the sky is the purple and indigo blue of the nebulous night:somewhere out there:he was still with me.And then there is always the Jodie Foster thing. I looked a lot like her when I was a kid and consequently I identify with her characters,like sisters or someone who is a part of me. When she has the scene where she "connects" with her Dad near the end... I lose it every time...every time. My brother was very important to me and then was gone from the planet.I had to make something up just so I could live with the idea of never seeing him again. Ellie and I have something very great in common...the idea that we are all...all of us...connected.
We are not alone.

My brother took me to see the grunion run when I was 9 and I remember the moonlight on the water and the spectacle of the million shimmering little fish:like a magically moving blanket of silver sequins. I wanted to give that to my son and tell him about his uncle who left the planet too soon and too abruptly. How do you explain suicide to a twelve year old?

It seems, of late, there are a lot of us going through loss of one kind or another. I think it is important to drink deep of these moments when we can shift our attentions to something a little less real:a little less intense:a little more fantastic:more painless and playful. What could be more fantastic than a million little fishes spawning?

Life goes on:and on:and on:.shimmering and shaking and we are just a teeny tiny part of something greater:something more.
A hundred million little specks that are part of a larger light...
"and in time:and in time...we will all be stars."

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