Friday, March 19, 2010

The writer's life

Here's how we looked this morning. First, the dog:

Then the hubby, wearing his best "Wild Hogs" look. He's always the early riser. Like Athena, springing fully grown and wearing armor from her father Zeus' head at the moment of her birth, he wakes every morning full of vim and vigor. Makes me want to slap him sometimes.

This is how the boys look right up till around 10 am. They are vampires, creatures of the night, I mean, being as they are teenage boys.

And me ... ha ha! I'm not visible because no one took my picture.

Here I sit, invisible or not, a cigarette dangling from my mouth, sipping a cup of Monster Energy Drink. Betcha didn't know you could sip, not chug, something with the words Monster and Energy in it.

Oops, scratch the cigarette. If I had a cigarette, it'd have to be whiskey I was drinking, and let's face it, my writing isn't that good.

However, I must say, this is the best caffeine buzz I've had since giving up coffee for Lent. Yee-ha!

We're at the beach. Yes, we are part of the raving, unwashed masses who decided it'd be just fab to head down to this tiny strip along the ocean, known to Texans as South Padre Island, by the thousands, and cause hours-long traffic jams everywhere.

The weather, while not exactly balmy, is amazingly good. I speak from experience, since every spring break in memory we've ventured somewhere to camp, and usually the weather is iffy, to speak charitably. We've been on spring break campouts where my favorite memory was sitting in a laundramat, warming up and drying out with the laundry. We've been flooded and stormed on, and in recent years, we have started going home rather than waiting it out. Something about my hubby turning 50, perhaps. So last year, we had half of a lovely week at Ink's Lake until the cold front blew in, and we blew out.

I suspect now that spring is here, it's going to get miserable in a hurry. Little to no transition from the freezing cold.

The very best place to meditate is on the beach. It's also the very best location to run, walk, sit, and probably engage in many other activities which I leave to the reader's imagination. Sand has metaphysical qualities. It's gritty -- like sandpaper -- but it is also so spongy underfoot, when damp. It feels incredibly soft, plush even, and it has so much give, when you sit on it. It conforms to you perfectly, and later, it scratches your skin. Sand has many contradictory qualities. It is a paradox.

So when I die, I hope heaven is a great big beach and I can sit on the sand and watch the waves. For a really, really long time. Alone? But then I guess it wouldn't be heaven, except for me! (C.S. Lewis imagined hell as a place where people moved farther and farther from each other. But really, doesn't that sound just a bit like heaven?)

And then, in my imaginary heaven where I'm alone, I can run, forever. I already feel like that's possible, no place else but on the beach.

If there are typos on here, it's because of my husband's finicky laptop. It's even more jittery than me, if that's possible. The cursor jumps my place every few seconds and I have no technical assistance available because Austin and his bro went to the beach. Rode their bikes there. On their own. Without adult supervision. Yikes! Yes, inside I'm screaming, trust me. I just texted Austin, and at least he's still alive (unless that's a clever kidnapper responding).

So, many thoughts drifted through as I watched the waves. Waves are the closest thing to eternity I can imagine here on Earth, and yet they've only been around, what, millions of years? Compared to eternity, any timespan is pathetically brief. So when were the waves born?  When will they die? Their lifespan seems forever, compared to the things we think of
as alive.

We should be able to capture the energy of the wind and waves somehow. Talk about lots of energy, renewable energy. I sat, and it was mind-boggling how busy everything was around me. I'm not even talking about the people, of which there were gobs, littered around everywhere.

Part of me would be quite willing to give up existence, along with every other person, in order to put the world back together without people messing it up. Yes, this thought drifted through quite strongly. But where's the love, Julie?

Yes, I ask, where's the love for our planet? We are the only creature that has fouled our own nest, and we don't seem to have noticed. It disgusts me to think of. Really, are we God's beloved? How is that possible. How did the world look without us? It must have been beautiful beyond description. Terrible, too. Yet the waves persist, before and after us. They are far beyond us and, it seems, they cannot be too perverted by our activity. Like climate. Oops, never mind.

So, back to the waves. They are enchanting. No wonder so many amazing sea creatures have been imagined, mermaids and monsters and the like, in the sea. Sea change, one of my favorite expressions. The waves, though they endlessly cross the same path, do it with endless variety. They change hour by hour, day by day, each moment. Yesterday, the waves were tiny and the surf, missing. Today, they were wind-whipped and nearly majestic. I could see the breath of the wind blowing them at an angle to the shore. Glistening, with a surface like rough skin.

Words cannot describe the beauty of the beach, the endless malleability of the water as it rushes in ever-changing patterns. But since I'm a wordsmith, I have to try to describe the indescribable.

I think sometimes that the thoughts of infants are more pure, uncorrupted by language and labeling. Just see, smell, touch and feel. If you cannot name something, you see it more completely, and it remains mysterious, as it should be.

Labeling leads to lazy thinking. It is a reason adults lose the divine glow that infuses children. The glow is still there, all around, but we, wilfully blind, opt out. We leave it to our poets to remind us of that great beauty.

Speaking of lazy thinking, I'm going to quote just what comes to mind, and it ain't Shakespeare.

Pink Floyd: When I was a child, I saw a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, but it was gone. ... I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream is gone.

Labeling, categorizing, these ways of thinking let our brilliant minds off the hook. No wonder, as a group, humans are stupid and unresourceful. The vile creatures!

Let's see, ending on a happy note, a note of hope: eeeeeehhhh! (High C) The beach is lovely, still.

I can't leave on such a sour note. Let's see -- the hot tub beckons! There's a happy thought. I am a writer, after all. Can't be too joyful. That'd be unnatural.

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