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Looking for the Ocean July 24, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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February 26. Covered 172 miles. Cloudy sky, grey sea. Nothingness.

February 27, Covered 94 miles. Blue sky, blue sea. Nothingness.

— Two log entries from Bernard Moitessier’s The Long Way.

This is not the ocean, these rolling waves crashing into the sand just below my balcony. It is merely the edge of the thing, a ragged hem. The ragged band of devotees to sun and surf who assemble each morning at the water’s edge do not really understand the depth and breadth of what lies past the dim gray line that is the horizon.

I have never voyaged out onto the true ocean, the place where land is mostly memory, but one of my compulsions is reading the literature of adventure, particularly that involving long, solo voyages into the heart of blueness. Here on the shore we are barely acolytes of the sea, mere poseurs compared to men and women like Moitessier, the ones who sail out far and alone into the very depths of the Southern Ocean.

There is no Poseiden lurking off the shores of the Florida panhandle. The young women basking in the sun substitute weakly for sea nymphs, sandy-diapered children chasing the sea birds and the rolling breakers are our only water sprites. The ocean of the water gods, the ocean of Moitessier lies far beyond anything the beer sipping sunbathers can even begin to conceive.

I think my neighbors in the sand would find the epigram above confusing. To me it is one of the best descriptions of Oceanness, of the true nature of the great rolling thing at my feet that I have ever found. I know that Ocean is out there, and I am as humbled as a Haji standing in the sand just gazing out towards it.

Fireworks Suddenly July 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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They come out at night, the flashlight people
combing the tide line, lights swinging wildly
like some Shakespeare clown watch with a bottle.
What do they think to find out in the night
that would not wash up in the glare of day?

Fireworks suddenly burst over the sand
with a bang whoosh snap pop hiss of colors,
bursting metallic blossoms in the dark,
leaving a column of smoke, hesitant
then rushing past us like a crowd of ghosts.

A whale, my son turns and says as sudden
as the fireworks. What, I ask? A whale,
that’s what might wash up. Let’s go down and look.
Blink: one flock of lights vanish. Down there some
thing large and dark sings a watery blues.

Cross posted from Poems Before Breakfast. The flashlight people in Destin, Florida fascinate me. I don’t recall them from my trips here as a child, or on the beach in Rehoboth, Delaware.

Pardon me if I’m brief. I have to run out this morning and replace the landlady’s blender.

Redneck Riviera May 29, 2007

Posted by The Typist in New Orelans.
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Yes, I know that’s Alabama and I’m in Destin, Florida. Still:

• In the south there are people with the accents we associate with Blance du Bois and the characters of Designing Women. They must all go to the beach in the Carolinas.

• Why does a man with a confederate flag tatooed on his back have a woman so tan she couldn’t pass the paper bag test?

• Why is all the crab at The Crab Shack overlooking the Gulf of Mexico Alaskan and Dungeness?

Really, I have no right to complain or to condescend, In spite of the building down the beach which looks barely boarded up since Ivan in 2004, it’s lovely to sit on my balcony staring at the moon’s track on the water nad listening to the constant rumble of the surf. I have b een away from the sea too long.

— posted via Blackberry