Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Perched on the Edge

Four days alone in a cabin at the end of the road on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Just me, the sky, and the surf. What a blissful escape! The time there really helped clarify some things.

First, I live on a ball, a ball that's covered mostly with water. That notion is almost impossible for me to grasp. How could a ball be covered with water? Gravity I get, yeah, but it's a tougher concept when the matter that's being pulled to the core sloshes. The transitory nature of water, not just its fluidity, but also its ability to be gas, liquid and solid, mystifies me to begin with. Water's here, then it's not. It's a soft, sweet brush on the cheek, then it's a treacherous slide underfoot. It's too apparent some months, then woefully non-existent during others. Water's kind of a genie, I guess, or maybe some mischievous sprite.

So, when I try to think that quixotic water serves as a cocoon for most of the planet, I just get perplexed. I guess it knows what it's doing, wrapping the globe like that, and has been at it for awhile. Just seems hard to fathom.

My second "big" thought was that I was perched on the edge of the continent. That's big stuff. I'm at the rim of a huge land mass! I'm exactly at the point where the continent ends and the sea begins, where geographic and territorial and political and emotional fences abound. Yes, I understand about the official boundary, so many miles offshore, but that's all legal mumbo-jumbo to me. What sticks in my mind is that the sea is eating away, over and over and over and over and over, at the rock that is North America. And I sit here watching it happen! Is that exciting or what? As climate weirdness continues, the excitement may not be that much fun.

My third pondering revolved around human sounds. For days I heard nothing but the sea. No TV, no CDs, no chain saws, no cars, no sounds but the crashing of water against rock, against itself, against the rolling sand of beach. I found myself talking out loud, just to make sure my ears were still accepting people sounds. And I found myself savoring this blissful ear-candy. When my late husband and I canoed in British Columbia's provincial parks, portaging further and further from roadways and restaurants, we went for three days when the only human sounds we heard came from each other. We heard no trucks. We heard no planes. We heard no others' voices. It was remarkable. Thought a lot about that feeling on this trip. In fact, on my third day in the cabin, when a small plane flew overhead, I was indignant. How dare that pilot impose that annoying engine sound on me! What nerve to make me listen to that intrusion for three minutes! After this grumpiness subsided, I observed that I may have been cloistered long enough and it could be time to return to my people.

I did so reluctantly, quite reluctantly indeed.


  1. This "sounds" like an almost perfect four days.

  2. As a child when I visited my grandparents and we would go to the beach I remember always thinking that I was standing at the edge of the continent and the thought that all of this vast country was at my back. Somehow powerful thought.