Sometimes the whole sea looks like a mirror of beaten silver, though it’s too turbulent to hold many reflections; it’s the bay that carries a reflected sky on its surface. On the most beautiful days, there are no words for the colours of San Francisco Bay and the sky above it. Sometimes the water reflects a heaven that is both grey and gold, and the water is blue, is green, is silver, is a mirror of that grey and gold, catching the warmth and cold of colours in its ripples, is all and none of them, is something more subtle than the language we have. Sometimes a bird dives into the mirror of the water, vanishing into its own reflection, and the reflective surface makes it impossible to see what lies beneath.
From ‘Recollections of My Non-Existence’ by Rebecca Solnit
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post for this blog, for which I apologise. Sometimes, life has a way of getting in the way. Sometimes, there just isn’t much to say.
Still, Rebecca Solnit’s words about the sea make me think of walking and running by my own sea, so far from hers, on the other side of the world. In the weeks since I last wrote a blog post, summer has faded away and autumn has arrived, and the sea has transformed itself from deep blue …
… to a wondrous, pearly, rippled blue …
… to spun silver.
Time passes, and the world turns, and that is how it should be. May the world keep turning for you, too.
Readers are likely to find other ways to get their news: Diana Bossio, on the power of Facebook to control the news. This is an out-of-date article now, since Facebook is no longer blocking Australians’ access to the news, but it’s worth thinking about, all the same. Is Australia the only nation fighting Facebook’s control of the way that news is relaid? And if so, why? I am not in favour of Facebook having a monopoly over the way Australians (or others) access the news, but I am also deeply suspicious of our Prime Minister’s support of Rupert Murdoch. The matter is more complicated than it seems …
I take many photos of the sea during daylight hours, but my photography skills aren’t good enough to capture the sea at night. Some nights, though, when the wind is westerly, blowing from the ocean onto the land, I can hear the waves, through the open windows of my house, as they roll into the beach and fall back, roll in and fall back.
It’s a dreamy, dreamy sound.
The night garden was thick with dreams. Beneath the earth, beneath the eyelids of birds, in the air that came like an exhalation from the sea. Pearl listened. It always felt closer at night, the slump and hiss of waves like an old man dreaming.
I thought about the kind of people who come to the sea to look at it: how they put themselves down on whatever rock or bench is around and gaze for hours into the distance as though something out there makes life seem meaningful, or at least less incomprehensible. What are they looking at? I asked myself. What do they see when they see the sea? Most people seemed to find the sea deeply interesting but it held no particular depth or virtue for me. The most profound effect the sea had on me was that sometimes, from the living-room window, it quite literally made me want to throw up. I’d always thought that people who liked the sea were people who didn’t like society, that it was people who’d failed in their relationships who turned to the sea. There was something in their glazed faces — leaning on harbour railings, walking along the crumbling promenade, staring over the tops of their newspapers — which disturbed me. It seemed they wanted to be immersed in it, that as they looked out at the sea they entered into a special relationship with it which, to a certain extent, entitled them to speak to it. Because people who spent too much time looking at the sea did start to commune with it, as if nature held the answer to all of life’s important questions, their expressions suggesting that they were not so much watching the sea as conversing with it. I could tell from the way they sat, dead still, that the sea spoke to them and that they, for their part, were receptive to its communication. But what was the sea saying to them? The sea didn’t speak to me. What do you say to them that you won’t say to me? I asked the sea, but the sea was silent and had no communication to make.
from ‘Somehow‘ by Danielle Dutton (in the Paris Review, #224)
This passage made me laugh (which I think — although I’m not entirely sure — was the writer’s mischievous intention). So I had to include it in my collection of passages about the sea, didn’t I?
Anyone who even glances at my blog will know that I fall into that category of people to whom the narrator in the passage above, Mr Field, refers as people who spen[d] too much time looking at the sea …