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Going deep.

December 9, 2009

I went back to the beach yesterday… it’s getting sufficiently cold and wintery here that it’s become attractive to me again (not that it’s not attractive in the summer, but the mobs of people and smell of Hawaiian Tropic make me kinda nauseous).

And it was COLD. Not as cold as it is in England right now (I’m getting that out there, Louise, so that you don’t make fun of me), but cold. So cold that when it rained two days ago it wanted to turn into snow but didn’t. (I asked it why and it pointed out that all those LA drivers would start driving into each other with shock and the roads which already aren’t built to withstand any kinds of weather patterns might buckle and crumble or at least turn slippery and it just wasn’t worth it. I pointed out (I really wanted it to snow) that if it felt like it needed to express itself in frozen form right now then it should, and it said “That’s what Alaska’s for, silly”.  I then pointed out that it’s much more important to let its energy flow in the direction that it wants to go than to restrain itself for the sake of some silly Angelinos and, well it laughed, and dried up, and as the clouds scattered and drifted away it whispered that it has transcended that kind of bullshit, and maybe one day I will too.)

There were three girls huddled together under a blanket up the beach watching the sunset, and then me.

That’s the way I like the sea– quiet, desolate, and raw. The waves were huge, left over from the storm that came and dried up and didn’t snow, moving the air around them, sucking the air back out of my lungs as they thundered on the shore. Wind, streaming eyes. That’s the way I like nature– a reminder that I’m very much alive.

I stayed out for as long as I could stand. That’s the thing about the cold in Southern California– in cold weather places it’s totally normal to venture out with fuzzy boots and a hat and scarf and gloves and a warm warm jacket but here, you forget. You look outside and it’s sunny and bright and the sun warms you when you’re sitting in it and so you go out with just a sweater (because it’s still less than 60 degrees which is the sweater point) and then the sun starts to set and the warmth is sucked out of the dry air and your body goes “Oh. Shit.” but by then you’re an hour away from home and enjoying yourself on the beach so you just take it for as long as you can (and pray that there’s hot water for a bath when you get home.).

It’s strange, after months of being away. Months of wishing I was here and thinking about the people and the noise and getting repulsed and going up into the mountains and picking a bush to sit under instead (just like Jonah, except I wasn’t feeling guilt for running away or anything, and I definitely didn’t get swallowed by a whale, which would probably be kinda cool). But those months create a distance, especially when I’ve been connecting to the earth so much. I used to stand with my feet in the ocean and feel like I could feel all the fish inside my own body. Now I stand with my feet on the shore and feel birds running around on the backs of my arms and the seaweed in my hair. I wanted to jump in, to say hello again. To pray that she hadn’t forgotten me and to apologise for being away for so long. To promise that I’ll learn how to surf so that we can play cat and mouse (see, I can give up control sometimes) like I keep promising every year. None of this can be done from the shore.

Standing at distance I remind her that I was actually sailing a lot this summer, so I WAS there, even if I wasn’t THERE. But she sniffs at me and crashes on the shore again.

I look at the cold water.
I look at my red feet.
And as I’m looking down I hear a tremendous crash and just like that I’m soaked.
And frozen.
And smiling.
And shivering. Uncontrollably.
And just like that, it all rushes in, the sensation, the lack of emotion, the clarity of thought and the connectedness. Just like that I’m both here and there, on the shore and lapping the sand on the shores of Japan and wriggling and moving around plankton and giant squid and whales and seaweed and it’s all there. There’s no room for anything else when it all comes rushing in like that. No room for thoughts, and no room for emotions, only sensation and perception. Only now.

Giggling, the waves rush away and chase a bird up the shore a little further up.
Shivering, I return to my car and put the heat on full.
I love winter more than I love any other season. Kidney season. Water season.  Time to return to the sea again.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria permalink
    December 11, 2009 14:46

    that’s very beautiful bekka! ( I have no words to describe it) but your reading and the way you put your energy in what you experience feels like the wind that comes different moments, picks you up and has you there beside it to see what it sees and experiences. ( that’s how your writing feels).

    thanks for sharing!

  2. December 18, 2009 06:49

    Your writing and perception is amazing. You pick out a moment and describe it in minute detail, the push and pull of consciousness and emotion. All I can say is thank you.

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