Saturday, September 19, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on August 5th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 23

A day of reflection, relaxation, and poetry at Sycamore Mineral Springs, inspired by 'Ghost of Tsushima'

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

I can’t seem to get Ghost of Tsushima (2020) out of my head, so I’m taking it with mein spirit at least (get it?) to the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa in Avila Beach, where I’ve booked a room for the night as a week-early birthday gift to myself. 


TUB TIME
Ready to relax at Sycamore Mineral Springs, I wait for the hot tub to fill up completely before stepping in. There’s also a faucet for cold water, just in case I overdo it.
PHOTO BY CALEB WISEBLOOD

Since renting one of the resort’s hillside hot tubs is not currently an option due to COVID-19 related health and safety concerns, I splurge on the hotel room just for the chance to soak in my own private tub. But where does a new video game about 13th century samurai warriors fit into this equation? 

Jin Sakai, the game’s protagonist, frequents a variety of hot springs during his travels, where he stops to rest and reflect (and regain or maximize his health in the process). I can’t recall another video game that emulates the feeling of soaking your worries away (drowning your characters in The Sims can be cathartic, but that deserves its own article). 


MULTITASKING
I know what you’re thinking, drinking hot coffee while hot tubbing early in the morning sounds like overkill, but I love it. Especially with some reading material.
PHOTO BY CALEB WISEBLOOD

But another unique aspect of Ghost of Tsushima is its haiku sequences. I’m not the most experienced gamer, but I can’t for the life of me remember ever playing a game that incorporates poetry composition. I’m sure I’ll regret saying that later after Googling the subject, but at least I can remain true about my own inaugural poetry experience within a video game. I remember saving Princess Peach as a kid, but never writing her a sonnet. 

I thought to myself, why not combine the twohot tubbing and haiku writingfor a double dose of reflection during my hedonistic birthday adventure.

Fade in: As I turn the faucet, hot water from the mineral springs fills the tub outside my hotel room on the private patio. I wait for the tub to fill completely before stepping in. It’s blissful. Heavenly. I just close my eyes and sit there. I admittedly do not attempt composing a poem at this time. 

But the next morning, I step back in the tub for a second dip. My mind is fresh, and I’m feeling inspired to try writing something; plus I’ve got coffee. I know what you’re thinking, drinking hot coffee while hot tubbing sounds like overkill. And I know this haiku won’t change your mind, but read it anyway:


RELAX AND RESTORE
Since renting one of the resort’s hillside hot tubs is not currently an option due to health and safety concerns, I splurge on the hotel room just for the chance to soak in my own private tub.
PHOTO BY CALEB WISEBLOOD

Some call it crazy
Hot coffee in a hot tub
Double ecstasy.

I also have some reading material to enjoy while I finish my coffee in the tub: a collection of free brochures I acquired from the hotel lobby while checking in the previous day. While many of them cover theme parks like Six Flags, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios, there are several local destinations in the mix too. 

One thing they all have in common is their inevitable closures over the course of the pandemic, making the brochures inaccurate and seemingly obsolete. But these errors make them feel more valuable to me; artifacts from an alternate universe.

Outdated brochures
Remnants of the old normal

Forever postponed.

I base my third and final haiku around the brochure for the Great American Melodrama in Oceano, a venue I deeply miss. The catalog advertises for The Perils of Pismo Peg and Other Tall Tales, a musical spoof that was originally scheduled to open in mid July. I think my last poem is only semi-enjoyable without that context though, because it forces readers to wonder who Pismo Peg is.

I should be watching
The Perils of Pismo Peg
Fate had other plans.
 

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is counting his syllables at cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.









Weekly Poll
Should the county Public Health Department help elementary schools apply for the state’s waiver program?

Yes, that’s what the department is there for.
Schools shouldn’t open at all right now, nevermind with the county’s help.
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Schools should have to fend for themselves; it shows whether they’re ready to handle reopening.

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