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High Tide

December 2, 2011

It’s a cold morning when you’re by the sea.

The air is only warmed by the sharpness of its smell and the way it clings to you as you walk through it. A salty substrate. You can forget what the ocean is made of if you’re away from it for too long. You can forget it’s made of what we’re made of and that it moves along in the same way we do – toward something, but also away from it – pulled by a familiar orbit and filled with things that have their own wills and desires.

A man walking down the beach has only a few things to think about. One is: what girl would I have with me now? Which woman would be the right one to let her words slide under the surf and keep her eyes on the split horizon line as you walk forward together; half of your view is made of encroaching water and the other made of captured sand, tumbled back into the world where people are found under the sun.

Sometimes when I walk along the water I imagine myself from above, my presence a lone dot there along the edge of the mapped world. When the waves come in, I’m lost to the sea, I think. Way up above it would seem my shallow footing in the white surf was the end of me – for a time at least.

And I like this idea of moving between existing and not existing – between being findable or too far gone. Drifting into the water and the blue canyons that dive down toward the center of the earth. Seeing the cooling presence of the orange iron and nickel core escaping through fissures and hearing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Then the tide leaves and I’m back on the sand again, shouldering a familiar gravity and seeing with drier eyes. What’s a man to do other than be true with himself when he remembers he can’t control the world around him?

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