I have moved to the edge of the ocean. So close that I could spit on it, as they say. Not really, but close enough that I watch the waves break and can hear the pound of the weight of water. All night I undulate to the to and fro of it all. It permeates my dreams, carving soft rounded edges onto the memories and wishes of my day-to-day life.
I am painting the ocean on my walls. It looks like surges of molten lava or an oil spill. I work to make it wilder and wetter and bolder. It will overflow the edges of the paper onto the wall and carpeted floor of my little apartment and sweep me out the door and onto the sand.
My mom and I were always fanatics of the sea. Hours spent in transit – buses, subways, sometimes rides in the car of a family friend. Hours of anticipation but always coated with the dread of the unavoidable loss. Isn’t that the way of life – waiting, then getting, then losing. The Zen brilliance of it, but also a bitter dose of medicine. All good things must come to a close. When those childhood days of cavorting in the waves drew dark and all the alte cockers started packing up the blankets and beach-bags and umbrellas, I knew my first internal geyser of refusal, a resistance to the nature of the universe. No, I don’t want to go.
But how can I take myself to the furthest rim of the continent during this period when so many are suffering? Okay, it’s true that there is much to worry about these days… personally the ravages of illness and age are lapping at the feet of my contemporaries…it is only a matter of time, we all understand, until the roulette wheel stops at the number that signifies one’s very own moment. And then there is the perpetual forest fire of the political environment in our country. Yes, there were the midterms but even so… what can one find to balance out the stampede toward the fall of Rome? And the physical environment, the mother of all that feeds us… I cannot miss the onslaught of smoke and ash that drifts on the warm air gusts from the arid hills north of me. California is burning. We are all burning. Isn’t this when we each need to stand tall and do something? Yes, I say, of course. It is essential to step up and be counted.
And yet… the sea persists in its drive towards infinity… in and out, as I watch from my window, as I stand in front of the burning ball of a sun descending into the blue horizon line. Another day offered as though a wrapped gift of ruby or emerald, glistening, filling every sense available… the smell, the sound, the visual motion. An invitation to float above, beyond the moment into history. The dinosaurs, it reminds me, they came and went. There is an ending to all things beautiful… a day at the ocean in the waves, a month of warm weather and then it is winter, a life of richness and pain and then it is over. No, I say. I don’t want to go… we want more than Kavanagh on the Supreme Court, more than men carrying assault rifles into country music bars and schools, more than … and the ocean whispers its promise… each day a sunrise, each night a sunset. Tides, hurricanes, piping plovers, dolphins. All this.