“Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb” – Walt Whitman’s words rang over and over in my ears as I stared at the ocean. Some lines bury themselves for years or decades but seem to work their way up and break back through the surface again. And when it happens, it adorns me with its initial mystery. Like when the words first crossed over my lips. And I couldn’t stop reading his song aloud. Feasting on something with more flavor than I could apprehend. And now, still stung by the ebb and the flow. Shocked by that old lure, once cast and forgotten, jumping again. Electric.
I cannot depict what I see in my head with any accuracy but I cannot stop trying to find the metaphors. The randomness of existence is the only rule left. And that used to sound demoralizing to me but not anymore because everything I experience seems beyond my capacity. Everything slips through my skin. Nothing is contained. Gravity is the only temporal bond. Movement is existence. Light splatters on wet ground. The ground becomes the light. The light brings the darkness yet darkness is not mere emptiness. Emptiness is not alone. Emptiness has the greatest potential as that from which any patterns emerge. Each image can only be an iteration of something never whole or complete. What is caught or exposed (for lack of a better word) between these iterations is the point of stringing them together. The wall space is the wet plate.
It’s 93 degrees Fahrenheit and climbing. The trail winds around another rock obstructing the view. What looms behind it blots out the trail underfoot. In a dream state, I stumble forward as the heat steals my stamina. But I’m not paying attention to my dehydrating state. I’m lost imagining about what looms around the next turn. A crow glides right over the crest and I see the feathers on its wings twitch in the wind. Only through its eyes do I see the folds of these mountains breaking into the wide desert beyond. I pass by another mound of scat – maybe the third or fourth one – full of juniper berries on the trail and think of what shaded spot the coyote must be panting in right now. Slipping by another rock face, I find a shallow cave with the shade I had yearned for seconds ago. And I sit there to stop the dizziness and sip a ration of water. There is a juniper tree with a burial mound at its feet. These rocks before me speak of Technicolor dreams with danger behind every turn in some old Western movie or the multitude of uses this place had for primitive fantasies and alien planets on film and through this sense of simulation I wonder how this place will seep into my dreams when I pass by the final obstruction of the day and fall to sleep like the crow cradled in the arms of its juniper tree or the coyote curled up in its stone womb.