Jim's Cave - What Makes The Magic

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A woman and her daughter go for a walk.... in a magical place


First draft written 10 Aug 2015, at 37,000ft


“Mom, what makes this a magical place?  Coming from her seven year-old daughter the question caught her off-guard.  “Mommm, you said this place is magical… tell me why”.  “Well, it could be the views.” The pair looked out at the vistas in front of them, “Pretty special and wonderful… huh?”  The little girl looked first toward her left, southeast-ward, toward Agura and beyond.  A valley extended far below them, ever outward, streaked with red, and brown and yellow ribbons of color,  The rich blue sky extended forever, both above and before her.  Slowly, she turned toward the west.  The expanse of the Pacific Ocean, a horizontal streak appeared as a deep blue ribbon of silk, crowning the sandy, brush colored rocky ridges in front of her and to her right.  The sky was a different blue, also rich, filled with sunlight and not one cloud.  “Mom, it’s pretty here, I like it…” “Me too Cloe, me too.”  “But, Mom, what makes this a magical place?”

Dorothea, a single mother, took her daughter’s hand, and led her along the packed-dirt trail.  While they walked along the rocky wide flat trail, she took another look around.With each few steps, the views changed. The slope above them, to their left that had been rising higher and higher above the trail, suddenly dropped down, to revel a new set of vistas.  As the trail opened-up new sights, new views, new details, new angles appeared. Dorothea saw that everything on the slopes was falling.  Although at that particular moment, nothing was falling fast enough to be seen moving by the naked eye.  The fall was over time, Trees and rocks and shrubs, all falling, moving ever so slowly over the next days and weeks and years and even decades, until the moment they will come crashing down, each in its time, in a final crash to complete their long slow-motion fall.

‘What did make this place Magical?’ Dorothea asked herself.  She closed her eyes, a door inside her mind opened.  She saw the outline of a man, his details becoming increasingly clear.  She recognized him.  A young Jim Morrison, just coming into his own, rock’s newest poet god, young, fit, shirtless, wearing tight leather pants, a leather satchel with a woven leather strap, hung from his shoulder.  She imagined him standing by the trailhead.  This was young Jim, just past the first brink of fame, when alcohol and drugs were enjoyed for recreation and exploration, not greedy needs to help him get through another day or night or interview or concert, or used to help him unsuccessfully flee from one of the many demons his talent and fame had unleashed.


Jim had come here to write and to fuck, and to trip, to escape and to renew himself.  How Jim had found this place no one knows, but here he found both peace and inspiration.  In her vision, Jim was wearing hand-made moccasins, perhaps a gift from one of an army of beautiful young woman, all eager for his attention, and even more eager to please him.  In her mind’s eye, Dorothea could see a group of friends, Jim and his running buddies, piling out of a top-down convertible that would someday become a vintage car.  The group jumped out of the car, and onto the car-free, rarely used road across from the entrance to the trail’s head.  Young, happy and vibrant, almost innocent their trust, the boys, waving bottles of wine and rum, were almost running, or maybe it was a free-form dance they were doing, their movements in time to music only they knew.  Their motion guided by music that was yet to be written or recorded, but was clearly fermenting and gathering complexity in their heads.  It was this unheard Music that would carry them to fame and fortune, leading them up to and through the many Doors of the future.  Their movements each reflecting their own vision, but collectively they moved in suggesting rhythms, that guided them across the small road to the trails-head.  Having left the bounds of the parked car on the side of the road, they were off westward along the trail, headed to ‘their cave’, or as it would be come to be known, “Jim’s cave’. 

On this bright sunny day, as she walked along the trail with her daughter in tow, Dorothea felt happy relaxed and free.  The many challenges of being a single working Mother lifted their collective weight from her shoulders and allowed her to soak in the natural beauty of the canyon.  She wanted to see herself in the vision, ready to party with Jim and the band, open and carefree and happy with not a care in the world.  She knew that those days were either past or not to be.  Motherhood had replaced being carefree with more than a carload of responsibilities.  She looked down at Cloe and smiled.  It was a trade-off she would happily accept. 

As the pair walked along the trail, the sounds of winds gathering strength and then the sounds of both wind and thunder filled her head.  The whirling sound of the winds increased in volume as they swirled around, filling the space between her ears, getting louder stronger, she could almost feel the winds push against her body, as she walked the trail on a sunny windless day.  A crash of thunder shook her.  Then a bass line entered, it repeated itself, again and again.  A keyboard, playing a deceptively simple line made its entrance.  The tone of the two instruments, warm, electric and electrifying, rather than cold or electronic, cut thru the sound of the winds and thunder she was hearing.It was so familiar, so well known, but still mysterious, the opening notes to “Riders On The Storm”.

She knew Jim’s voice well, heard on countless radios, and albums, and CDs, even downloads.  The tone of his voice; deep, rich, comforting, not threatening, but powerful and still somehow both alluring and dangerous, at the same time, his voice seemed to channel deep wisdom of lifetimes worth of experience.  The voice sang out;


Rider’s on the Storm…. Rider’s on the Storm….

Rider’s on the Storm…. Rider’s on the Storm….

Into this house we're born

Into this world we're thrown

Like a dog without a bone

An actor out on loan

Rider’s on the Storm…. Rider’s on the Storm….



Did he write that here?  In his cave?  On top of that rock?  Along this trail?  What was the answer to her daughter’s question: ‘What made this a magical place?” What made the Magic? 

The two woman, or one woman and one girl, or two girls, one 41, the other 7 years old, mother and daughter walked further along the trail and looked out toward the ocean 3 or 4 miles in front and almost a half mile below them.  A slight breeze offset the heat from the strong sunshine.  Just beyond and above where they stood, three large hawks swooped between hills and around the rare standing remains of a tree.  The tree had no leaves due to a recent or maybe primordial fire.  The hawks were playing a form of hawk-tag, dancing in the sky.  The three hawks each seemed free from the pull of gravity, swooping in every direction, flying as they wished, playful, but also fierce and capable.  Perhaps these hawks were the spirits of Jim and his buddies, coming back to this place, this magical place, to do their dance and frolic once more.


As Dorothea walked further along the trail, in her minds eye the vision of Jim and his buddies became more detailed.  She saw a 2nd car pull up behind Jim’s convertible.  A man and three girls popped out.  “Hey Jim, that was some hill you gotta drive-up to get here…” the man yelled toward the group ahead.  Jim laughed putting both hands on a piece of pipe about 4’ off the ground; the pipe was suspended across the trail entrance to block cars from entering the trail.  Jim pushed down on his hands, lifting his feet off the ground and gliding them over the pipe, his body moving more slowly under his tight control than one would have expected.  His movements graceful and fluid, his gait made him appear to float down the trail, seemingly as free from care as any grown human has ever been. 

The man and the three girls ran to catch-up.  One girl, with long straight hair hanging down her back, in a white loose fitting cotton shirt with blue embroidered flowers on the sleeve and around the neckline, caught-up with Jim and warped her arms around him from behind.  Jim’s arm fell around her neck, landing his forearm gently on her shoulder as their steps fell instantly into sync. In his other hand, the bottle was open and the liqueur was clean… he drank deeply from the Rum bottle, passing the bottle to the girl and then onward thru the group.

“Mom, can we go straight to the Cave?” “Well, Cloe, I was hoping to climb up the slope over here, pointing off to her left and slightly behind her.  The trail split up ahead, one path switching backward to a large rock formation that allowed for an easy hike up the rocky slope.  The other branch headed toward Jim’s Cave and the Vortex.  Let’s climb up the large rocks here, and then head over to the cave.  I really like the views from up there.”  Cloe feigned disappointment, shoulders and head leaning downward, her back arched, letting out a loud dramatic sigh of disappointment.Within an instant, the young girl, raised her head and shouted “Race ya” and took off running toward the rocky upward trail.  Her laughter ringing in her mothers ears.  Dorothea, took a deep breathe and shouted after Cloe with a laugh, “You better not let me catch-you, I’ll tickle you silly’, as she ran after her daughter and up the rocky slope.

Corel Canyon in Malibu California, is a gem.  Part of a State Park, free from development, and rarely visited, Corel Canyon is a magical place. The canyon is wide open to the ocean, and ascends quickly.  Its location is close enough to allow easy access, but far enough that most people never go.  The lower portion of the canyon ends right on the Pacific Coast Highway, the PCH, landing you in the parking lot of an informal, but very successful seafood restaurant.  The upper portion of the canyon is some 1900 feet above the PCH, that can be easily reached by driving up a paved road 4.85 miles and parking wherever you can fit your car next to the road.  The trails through the canyon are quick to find and offer easy walking and rock climbing/hiking for people with a wide range of hiking and climbing skills.  The views from the trail, looking both east and west will thrill almost anyone.  Most afternoons in spring and fall, the fog rolls in from the ocean, and makes it up the canyon only so far, before it turns and returns to its ocean home.  In Jim’s time, northern Malibu was still a somewhat distant getaway, populated mostly by summer camps run by religious organizations, some fisherman and a few private retreats.  But even with the amazing growth of Malibu and its surrounds in recent years, Corel Canyon remains pristine.


“Mom can we climb down there?” “Not today Cloe, those rocks are very steep, too steep for us to climb safely” “But you promised last time that we could go down there”. “Some day we will, I do promise, but your going to have to get a bit bigger to handle that climb.”


As they walked back down the rocky trail, they could see the rock formation that held Jim’s Cave, jutting up and out of the brush in front of them.  The rock formation was about 100 yards off the trail, with smaller paths cutting thru the brush connecting the formation with the trail.  Even with a clear line of sight to the entrance to Jim’s cave, the slit-like opening in the rock-formation was barely visible.  It was only possible to see the opening due to some colorful and rather risqué spray-painted graffiti marking the entrance.  Surprised by how the graffiti was so localized, Dorothea happily noted that the entrance to Jim’s Cave was the only place along the entire trail marked with the work of spray-can artists.  Beyond the rocks that held ‘Jim’s Cave’ they could see a much larger and more dramatic rock formation.  A spiral ‘ring’ of rocks that made up The Vortex sat on a flat area directly in front of this formation.  If one considered making a movie about Jim’s life, you would put his cave in this larger formation, behind the Vortex, just for the dramatic effect.


As they walked along the trail, westward toward Jim’s Cave, the vision Dorothea had been seeing changed.  In the vision, it was now getting darker, the sun still shining, but just above the horizon.  Shadows were forming between streaks of low-angled sunlight.  The shadows seemed to being doing their own dance between the rocks and brush and trees, creating strange random shapes that somehow seemed familiar.  You could feel the sky was about to change, about to explode in a sea of sunset driven colors. 

Jim stood at the entrance of the cave, holding out his hand, palm upward.  Seven small squares of paper, each imprinted with a colorful pattern seemed small in his palm. “Enter yee, who dare! Enter Yee through the canal of birth and rebirth.”  Two of Jim’s buddies approached him.  Jim handed them a square of paper, each laden with LSD.  They placed the paper squares on their tongues and each took a swing of wine! “ENTER! ENTER! Be born and reborn! Crawl thru once again, once again journey thru The Birth Canal.” Jim waved his arm in a large slow circle toward the entrance.  The men laughed and walked and then crawled thru the tight narrow opening. The 3 girls were next, each given their dose, a swing of wine and a wave of entry!  The last girl of the three, the one with the long following hair, gave Jim a long, slow kiss, as she passed by.

Once thru the ‘Birth Canal’ entrance, there was a small climb onto the caves’ floor, with a large opening in the west wall looking outward toward the southwest.  The opening started about fifteen to twenty feet above the rocky floor below, and was about 30 feet wide and 20 feet tall, making the ‘cave’ less cave-like and more like a natural picture window onto the world.  Some time passed.  The colors of the sunset painted the sky with streaks of red and blue and yellow and the increasingly powerful effects of the LSD painted the world, making the colors richer, more vibrant, the group all beginning to see the colors in the sky slowly pulsing with life.  One of Jim’s crew had foraged for some wood, mostly small braches of brush, and set about making a small fire, inside a circle of rocks, at the western opening of the cave. 

As the sky darkened, the fire’s lights aglow, strange and wonderful shadows danced on the rock walls of the cave and in the brush below.  The crew watched and listened, in awe of the power of the universe.  Together, they seemed to become more and more aware of the sense and power of The Life Force in everything from the plants to the rocks to the stars and within their own beings.  Jim reached over and pulled the longhaired girl gently toward him.  “Kiss me, with a love that is honest and true, and alive, with the warmth of the most golden of the fire’s flames….” The couple kissed, gently at first, then with an increasing hunger.  Jim pulled her hair into his hand, wrapping his hand with its length, and gently but forcefully pulling, applying a strong forceful energy to her head.  Together they slowly walked over to a more private alcove at the rear of the cave for some explorations of their own.


Time passed.  Stars that first showed themselves as points of light, in a dimming evening sky, were now streaking across the darkened heavens in great arcs, leaving long glowing circular trails in their wake.  The light trails pulsed with undulating levels of brightness, throwing off a fireworks worth of shooting stars every few moments or was it years.  The moon, a newly formed crescent on this night, offered to show itself, but only for a while, as it flowed beyond the horizon, hiding away from the groups longing eyes.  Time flowed freely thru the night, changing speed and direction, taking it’s own sweet time along the way.  The Hours and Minutes, Seconds and Millennia, had all gathered in the sky to share a smile and swap stories, telling tales, both foul and fair, of various places and various times, leaving a jumble of space and color and meaning and life and love, for anyone or everyone to unravel as best that they could.  Their job is to mark time and not to master.


The flames of the fire that once danced and flickered and had shone brightly against the newly darkening sky were reduced by time itself to glowing coals.  The coals glowed faintly, covered by the charred remains of brush that would cycle thru birth and rebirth, feeding and becoming new brush, again and again.The coals were still surrounded by the same rocks that had been warmed and occasionally charred by the dancing flames of the fire.  The rocks that had ringed the fire, remained like loyal sentinels grounded in place, stoic, un-moving and un-moved by the events around them.  The crew of men and woman, musicians and friends lay around the rock circle, resting around the fire.  Taking in all they had seen, ready to let the mystical night flow into the light of another new day.  No longer time travelers, or cosmic warriors, but rather a group weary from a long and useful journey, a journey whose meaning and value had yet to be discerned.  Somewhere between the pulsing colors of the ethereal and mystical darkness of the night, the still black sky began showing it’s first signs of yielding to the impending and unavoidable if rejuvenating dawn.


Jim, walked toward the fire, squatted down, reaching out to warm his palms near the coals.  His eyes searched the dimly lite cave.  After a moments search, he spotted & gathered his leather satchel, pulling out a paintbrush and small can of paint, and went to work on the cave’s wall.  Jim drew a spiral, the outline of a hand, a simple animal shape, and several simple stars.  Each symbol a modern version of a timeless Petroglyph, the art of prehistoric peoples, seen in most of the ancient magical sites of psychic power around the globe.  The commonality of these shapes across the globe is speculated upon but not understood by modern man; Jim saw these shapes as fundamental to the human experience.  When he finished a set of 5 shapes, Jim walked to the furthest point in the cave; standing on the very edge of the opening he looked out, standing on the edge of a 20’ drop to the floor below.  Speaking to everyone present and also everyone not present, Jim began to recite a section of one of his poems.  When he finished the poem, he picked up the paintbrush and paint, and walking back to the cave wall he had been painting, carefully lettered a line from the poem’s text below the symbols he had just painted:

"Let us reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages;

celebrate symbols from deep elder forests..."


The girl with the long flowing hair stood next to Jim. She looked at the symbols and read the quote, trying to understand the force, the nature, the force of nature that was the man beside her.  “Have you been here before?” she asked in a voice that was clear, with a tone that offered only love and support.  The ‘here’ in her question was not a reference to a place, such as the cave or the canyon, it was a reference to the western worlds time-space continuum and the eastern world’s cycle of re-incarnation.  She looked at him with eyes alight.  “Are you Dionysos?” She paused to see if he would respond.  “Are you the god of winemaking and wine, the god of ritual madness, the god of Theater and the Theatric? Are you the god of religious ecstasy?”  She stood and twirled around, arms out-stretched, hair flowing outward.  “Have you come back to us from high atop the Parthenon, or from the stars of Hyades to which the Parthenon is aligned?  Have you tired of Zeus and his bolts of lighting? Have you tired of the other gods and their petty jealousies?  Have you come to show us true ecstasy?” 


Her questions were genuine and not mocking, but she knew they would not be answered directly.  A direct answer to such a query would be beneath Dionysos.  The only real answers to such questions could come in moments filled with music and songs or drunken rages or a night of theatrical conflicts and resolutions.

The entire group focused whatever energy they had left on Jim.  Inside himself, Jim was aware that he was an artist.  He was an artist that used songs, and poems, and dance and performance to move people, to help them see and perhaps unleash the magic in the world and within themselves. In that moment of self-realization, he became painfully aware that as his music and poems became more famous, he would forever be on stage, the focus of others attention and adoration, with strangers in an audience or like right now, on stage among but separate from his own closest friends.He felt the immense weight that this attention would afflict upon him.  He saw his talent and vision as both a blessing and a trap, albeit a trap with the perk of always being the focus of attention and admiration and jealously and misunderstanding for all of eternity.He remembered reading Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy:


“Though the favorites of the gods die young,

they also live eternally in the company of gods.

And for the first time he understood the line as personal.  Of course, who wouldn’t love the adoration and attention, but Jim knew he was aiming at something more, more than just rock-star ego-driven love and self-love.  Yet, he could see that as a favorite of the Gods, the arc of his life headed fatefully to sacrifice and suffering.

The girl had asked him a question, one that he could never answer.  He felt separated from her, and all others.  He knew in that moment that he would be asked such questions over and over and over.  He could see that his only real response would be to leave a trail of poems and lyrics, and music behind to provide clues for others to decipher.  In his core, he knew with absolute certainly, that music is the magic, and performance is worship.  Music understood in the right way, could set you free, able to unleash untold magical powers into the world and peoples’ lives.

Jim had been sitting cross-legged, looking at his cave-wall artwork.  Slowly he stood.  He reached for the girl, placing his hands on her cheeks, while looking deeply into her eyes. He kissed her forehead. “You ask me who I am, am I this or that? I can only tell you how I look, to me, when in I gaze into the mirror” 


“I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star.

Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!"

Then- whoosh, and I'm gone

...and they'll never see anything like it ever again

... and they won't be able to forget me- ever.”[Jim Morrison]

After a long silence, Jim looked up, smiled and offered: “Lets head outa here.”  The group slowly gathered their belongings, and crawled out the narrow ‘birth canal’, being once again born into the ‘real’ world.  The girl with the long hair, climbed out first, crossing the 100 yards of brush to get to the trail.  As she joined the trail, she walked to her left, away from the trail back to the cars, and toward the next large rock formation.  The sun was starting to rise and she bent down and gathered some rocks.  She walked around, gathering rocks from all sides of the flat area in front of the large rock formation.  The others watched her.  She made a pile of rocks, adding 2, 3 or more with each trip.  Each rock was larger than a fist, some larger than two fists.When the pile contained about 30 or 40 rocks, she took a single rock from her pile, and held it up to the sky with both hands, as an offering of some unknown sort, and placed it down on the ground.  She repeated this gesture with each rock in the pile, placing them in an increasingly large spiral.  Jim and the others watched her work, building her spiral, her vortex, and a piece of his legacy.  Each member of the group, in their own time, began collecting rocks and expanding the spiral vortex.


“Mom, who built this Vortex anyway?” “No one really knows Cloe, its kinda one of those things that rarely get documented, someone just builds it and hopes it carries on. Some say Jim Morrison started it a long time ago…. ” “Does anyone know how long this vortex has been here?” “I’m not sure, but its pretty big so it must have been here a long while”. “Can we walk between the rocks in a spiral?” “Sure!”


“Look Mom,” Cloe said pointing to the rocks in the center of the Vortex, “Someone painted a skull on the rock that’s in the middle. Why did they do that Mom?”  Cloe and Dorothea crossed the spiral arms of the vortex, careful not to step on or move any of the rocks.  When they got to the center, they stood for a moment in silence, and looked carefully at the painted rock.  It had been spray-painted purple and painted with the outline of a simple Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, style skull. “Mom, it feels like I should make a wish or say a prayer or something before we start walking in the circles.”  “Go ahead, this seems like as good a place as any to make a wish or say a prayer….” A moment of silent prayer passed.  “Mom, the vortex is kinda like the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, only this ones not made from yellow bricks, just rocks people found around here.  Do you think we’ll end up in Oz?” 

After they walked around the spiral path of the vortex, Dorothea looked around at the rocks and the view toward the ocean.  She turned to her daughter and gave her a hug. “You remember earlier today, you asked me what it was that made this place magical?Well I think that God or whatever you want to call the creator, made the whole world a magical place, and some people and some places just help us to see the magic more easily.But what I believe is that it’s not the people or the place that are the Magic, the real Magic is always everywhere, in fact the Magic is inside everyone and everyplace.”  Dorothea wondered how much if any of this would sink in.  “The key is that if you want to see and feel the Magic, you just have to look at every place and person just right.”  “Mom, That’s silly”. “Yep, silly for sure, but I really believe that it’s the truth…..”  The pair stared out toward the ocean for a moment or two.  “Hey Cloe, lets head back to the car and go get an ice-cream…. Race ya to the car…”. 


As the pair reached the road near their car, a group of six young people we’re getting out of their car, headed energetically for the trailhead. “Hey Hey”, “Hey” waves and casual greetings were exchanged across the empty road.  “Hey Mom, do you think those people are going to see Jim Morrison’s Cave and the Vortex?”  “I don’t know Cloe, those kids are kinda young to know about Jim Morrison…..Jim hasn’t been around here in long while” and she laughed, feeling attached to a bygone era. 

As she looked at the newly arriving kids, who were by now across the street, and headed up the trail, she wondered about Jim, and the future, and Cloe, and magic.  She slide into her car, and looked toward the young people headed up the trail. They were still close enough for Dorothea to see that the back of one of the boys T-shirts, sported the cover the Door’s L.A. Woman album.  As she started her car, she laughed again and thought:  Perhaps some things, like the ever-expanding arms of a Spiral Vortex or a Shaman’s legacy are truly eternal.  Perhaps these are the things that help make or keep a place magical.

(end of story)

Submitted: November 21, 2018

© Copyright 2020 SIASAM. All rights reserved.

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