the ocean at night

when discussing the whole mountains/ocean arena, a friend recently said to me, i like mountains in the morning; the ocean in the black of night.  i left it without the comfort of quotations because it’s not exactly what he said or how he said it, but rather what i remember him having said.  in fact, right now i can’t even find the email he said it it, so i’m somewhat unsure of whether i simply made it up in my head.  well, regardless of where it came from, it stuck with me.  especially now that i live out here nestled between the ocean and the mountains.

to be clear,  love the ocean all the time.  there’s something about that straight, flat line that makes sense of infinity.  it often makes me think of math and how that little arrow at the end of a line meant that the line theoretically kept going on that plane till kingdom come.  but infinity never makes sense on paper because the paper ends a few inches away…and the desk ends a few feet after that.  i think math teachers should bring their students to the ocean.

it’s been pretty messy weather here lately.  one day is 75, sunny, beachworthy.  other days are grey and thick with white water vapor and pink smog.  tonight is one of those nights that’s thick with these colors, but the sun’s on the other side of the earth, so we don’t see the colors themselves – we just feel them – roses and cigar smoke smudged into the deep bruise of sky.  the ocean roars tomorrow’s coming storm.  and my neighbor’s wind chimes terve splendor from the sallow.  i can taste the salt seasoned with moonglow – just the faintest of hazes above that layer of clouds.

yes, tonight makes me remember love for the ocean in the blueblackness of night.  maybe it’s something close to the fear of god.  or simply respect.  it’s the same feeling i had standing next to the bufones of asturias in spain this summer – that roarous noise with no visuals.  the knowledge that i could be swallowed whole if it so chose.  in fact, i’m not even sure i would have the guts to stand next to one of the bufones in the dark.  something changes when you can’t see the face behind the voice.  maybe that’s why faith has to be blind.


3 Responses to “the ocean at night”

  1. 1 GINGER March 5, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Good luck and keep up the good work.

  2. 2 paul March 11, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Here is where one starts from. As we grow older
    The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
    Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
    Isolated, with no before and after,
    But a lifetime burning in every moment
    And not the lifetime of one man only
    But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
    There is a time for the evening under starlight,
    A time for the evening under lamplight
    (The evening with the photograph album).
    Love is most nearly itself
    When here and now cease to matter.
    Old men ought to be explorers
    Here and there does not matter
    We must be still and still moving
    Into another intensity
    For a further union, a deeper communion
    Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
    The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
    Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

    taken from “Four Quartets” t.s. eliot

  1. 1 mountains, desert, ocean « out on a walk Trackback on May 9, 2009 at 10:30 am

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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