Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stardust beach

As the waves glide up our local beach out of a low tide, they sometimes leave long fine lines in the smoothed sand. If the conditions are right these are a darker grain and look like sketches or brush paintings. They often look like landscapes of hills and not too distant mountains, each wave outlining a new ridge. Today I found this entrance to a valley under starlight, surely a beyul.

Surely? The other day I happened on a ridgeline, the dark edge of line glowing in the golden light of a setting sun, and was convinced, utterly, that there was somewhere in the world a mountain with just that shape. Not just that the same processes which trace the curve of one trace the other, I thought, but the same particular shapes emerged - though there might not be someone at the right angle to notice them.

I was at that angle, for the beyul on the beach and also somehow for the other one, wherever it might be. (It didn't occur to me that my mountain may look like that only in distant ages of past or future, or that there might be several, or that my hidden mountain might not be on this planet; no matter.) My oceanic feelings are mineral, counting an endless repetition of moments at once unique and, well, not.

[24 August: Reflecting a little more on this, I came up against the fact that the phenomena of this beach, of any beach, of any wave, almost certainly aren't replicated. The factors and components are too vast. Every possible combination of them (my Aquinas-like thought) won't happen, though more than mind can grasp will and do (and I wasn't too far from a certain kind of theology of omniscience). Everything's one-
off. So was I merely being sentimental? In my defense, the claim wasn't that nothing happens only once but that nothing happens alone. The recurrent shape was just a line, an outline, and the resonant vastness was felt in a disjunction of scale and materials which seemed merely apparent - a tender wave edging forward in two dimensions, and rocky ridges weathered down in three. Things are unique "and, well, not."]

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