Malibu’s Point Dume Natural Preserve has always been a go-to destination place for short day trips for my family and me whenever we find ourselves yearning for something to do. There’s a sandy beach area, a hiking trail and a rocky terrain area where one can find sea creatures during low tide. However, we have never visited Point Dume when wildflowers were in bloom for its short two-week span in the late winter/early spring of every year. This year’s unusual rainy weather helped the wildflowers, more formally known as Coreopsis Gigantea, bloom a little while longer, hence my chance to finally admire the abundance of yellow blooms.
The hubby unfortunately had to work during the week and the kids had school, so what does a lonely artist to do when the opportunity to see wildflowers blooming in Malibu presents itself? I was in between freelance job assignments and the next couple of weekends have already been spoken for (family gatherings and tax preparations, ugh), so I decided to call up Michael, a former work colleague of mine who happened to own a Malibu bungalow, to see if he would be open to go hiking with me at Point Dume while the flowers were still there.
Luckily for me, Michael was free the day I wanted to pay Malibu a visit, so we met up in the morning to indulge in a light stroll towards Point Dume. The weather decided to cooperate by delaying the rainy gloom weather of late, offering instead the perfect 72 degrees and sunny weather that people often expect whenever a coastal trip to Malibu is called for.
It’s great to admire the abundant beauty of this rustic paradise with someone I have not had a chance to spend much time with since we stopped working together five years ago. Despite all the conversations we’ve had during our many work collaborations and small coffee breaks, all the lunch dates and the occasional evenings out at the Broad Stage as his Plus 1, and that one time my family and I attended one of his public performances as a cellist, I really had no idea how talented and multi-faceted my friend was in different art disciplines. While visiting his home, Michael shared with me his many mixed media works from his San Francisco days when he was working on his MFA. He also conducted a short cello performance for me, which was both moving and haunting. Michael even shared a personal story of how he collaborated with local Los Angeles musicians back in the day, the culmination of which was the recent creation of a limited run boxed vinyl record collection that is currently being sold at Amoeba Records for $500.
What I learned from this friendly visit was that Michael was an ever evolving artist outside the world of advertising, our “day jobs” from long ago. What’s so striking about spending time with Michael on this day was how unencumbered he felt about his unfinished works. There were half-completed woodblock pieces as well as reams of film and videotapes waiting to be discovered inside his home office.
When I asked him whether he would revisit them now that he is working out of his home, Michael simply replied, “I’m finished with them and I am fine with how they are.”
When I asked about what went behind one particular piece of artwork he created, Michael replied, “Well, what do you bring to it when you see it?”
This back-and-forth resonated with me the whole time we spent subsequently leaving his bungalow to admire the beautiful wildflowers at Point Dume. Despite the few warning signs that have propped up since my last visit here (blocking the now unsafe paths downhill), the deteriorating walkways leading up to the Point Head, and the remnants of civilization that have slowly encroached upon this beautiful place (think human belongings that have somehow found themselves here as castaways or misplaced valuables), the venue remained beautiful and pristine in its raw beauty.
“Just like my friend, Michael,” I thought to myself, “the artist who stopped reinventing himself after he realized he already has accomplished so much.” It is however I saw [an experience], or felt when I saw [art], or what I immediately thought of when I saw [read/listened], that Michael wanted me to experience.
“You came at a perfect day, Deborah.”
Indeed, I did. So I decided to enjoy this shared experience of admiring Point Dume’s beautiful wildflowers in bloom with my friend.
I happened upon “From The Passenger-Side Window” another one of Michael’s creations on social media soon after Michael and I parted ways. It resonated with me because of my morning experience with him.
Try as much as we want to make sense of the world or control how things turn out, in the end, we’re just along for the ride.
Point Dume Natural Preserve
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Cliffside Drive & Birdview Avenue
Malibu, CA 90265
Open from Dawn to Dusk (5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
Michael Intriere’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQQJOHkNWopiTBflVYgaJNg
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