15 July 2018

Plumb The Swell

It may be known by the pelicans, this wreck that lies not far offshore from the low tide line. The spray-flecked birds roost upon the crossbars in a display of maritime avian inscrutability. They seem comfortable perching on the rusty wet iron. Such a tableau piques the interest. It invites one to come investigate, to see what the pelicans see. Who would not want to commune with such creatures, perhaps divine some insight into a life spent in symbiosis with the sea? No one. The swim to the roost should be an easy commute. Yet it is the swell, vitreous and undulate, that holds one back.

Of course the swell makes the sea seem alive. A huge, peculiar beast seeking to swallow those daring enough to depart the safety of the strand. Ripples on the surface bear more than a passing resemblance to scales on a serpent or a dragon. Such an image cannot help but evoke nervousness as a swimmer wades into the surf. The roil and tumble of waves is exhilaration embodied in tidal energy. They curl in a jade opacity, and it is this opacity that strums the nerves with anxiety.

What the eyes cannot see the mind fills in with abandon. In the full light of day, no less. The surf becomes a medieval map. Here there be monsters, maybe, or at least very large beasts of unknown intentions. They stand between desire and fulfillment thereof. The blank space between that to be known and the actual knowing of it. Shipwrecks have a way of grabbing the imagination form an early age. The reality of seeing one in the world is very different than those seen in photographs. There is no filter or remove.

Waves roll. Pelicans rustle and flap. They seem a genial coven of witches, magistrates conferring in the square, as they dip and bob their heads while shuffling on the crossbar. What could be learned from such chatter? How to approach them at their party? If only we could know the witty banter of seabirds, perhaps we could join them at their leisure.

First, we must cross the water. Overcoming fear is the first step. Eventually we must dive into that which cannot be divined beforehand. There is no other way in this life. To connect is to invest, and treasures will not unearth themselves.

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