I have never written much about place. I love the world but feel in it a perpetual nomad–to me the line there’s no place like home has always favored the less obvious of its ambiguities–and feel, in it, somehow apart.
These days I am living mere blocks from the ocean. I hear gulls screaming in the morning, above the sounds of the sidewalks and streets; the air carries on it the sexual scent of sea. Those mere blocks are so clogged with cars and the obstinate press of the city that I sometimes forget its proximity, the pulse of humanity more immediate, or clamoring, than the ocean’s quiet pull, but this morning I walked in the opposite direction of my usual path, and ended up wandering on and on down the pier.
The water called me out of myself, and called forth the brine of tears–was it a saline sorrow, or joy? It was startling to see the reaction of this animal body, and after an hour–perhaps more–I came home in a state of grateful dismay. The city seems to cause or encourage me to burrow inward, my psyche worming down from the clamor and the overwhelm of a myriad of subjectivities, and I have loved it for this. But there are other routes away from this pressure, and I have ignored them.
I want to listen more to the language of the water, and the waves. Their lapping at the shore (for how many eons now have they been practicing that song?) makes my own tongue sound like babbling nonsense. I want to spend more time wandering outside, instead of within. I want to realize that loving the whole of the globe does not preclude having a stake in a small piece of it, and that in truth the world is starved for such particular loves.