Friday, August 13, 2010

(In which I demonstrate that I am totally infatuated with Annie Dillard and with the beach)

I don't mean to be an ascetic, but it's in my blood and bone somehow. I don't mean to be disillusioned or disaffected, I don't mean to expect nothing, but the fear of disappointment seeps into me, from the feet up, like water climbing something dry (paper, fabric). Soon I'm soaking wet, when only my toes were ever touching the sea.

I need to snap out, snap open like a sweet peapod bursting and showing its seeds into the light. I need to wake from the dreams of distance. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek speaks for me:
"Our God shall come," it says in a psalm for Advent, "and shall not keep silence; there shall go before him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up about him." It is the shock I remember. Not only does something come if you wait, but it pours over you like a waterfall, like a tidal wave. You wait in all naturalness without expectation or hope, emptied, translucent, and that which comes rocks and topples you; it will shear, loose, launch, winnow, grind.

I have glutted on richness and welcome hyssop. This distant silver November sky, these sere branches of trees, shed and bearing their pure and secret colors--this is the real world, not the world gilded and pearled. I stand under wiped skies directly, naked, without intercessors. Frost winds have lofted my body's bones with all their restless sprints to an airborne raven's glide.
Winter is the season for feeling that clean and cold, but the frigid Pacific and the chilling fog give me winter in the midst of summer. This purity is the prize, for surrender to the sea. This wakefulness is the reward, this out-of-body experience. The cold crashes over me, splashes in my eyes, tangles in my hair: every thought is washed out of my mind. I come running out of the waves, so awake that my body itself is a dream, dissolving in the bed of the world, when I am awake in the morning of joy.

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