Posts Tagged ‘surf’

The Beginning and the End

June 15, 2018

To go with the flow, or to go against it—that is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler to nurture the notion that mankind was innocent in some presumed condition of noble savagery—or to accept traditional religion that pronounces us guilty of offenses against Nature or against God.

If we are, or were, indeed, noble savages in our beginnings, why should we have taken on the disciplines and restrictions of religion—doctrines that judge us culpable of sin and thus in need of repair, salvation, or some kind of evolving perfection yet to be realized?

Hawaiians, for instance, who were alive here on the island of Kauai (I am wondering, as I write this on Kauai in 2018)—those Hawaiians who lived here in 1778 when Captain James Cook suddenly showed up with his fancy ship and his threatening weaponry, his magical gadgets, highly-trained crew, impressive use of language and documents, his tailored clothing and highly developed European culture—those relatively primitive people who first saw Capt. Cook’s two ships sail up to the mouth of the Waimea River . . .

CaptCook

Why should they have accepted his intrusion into their simple, primitive life?

To go with the flow, or to go against it—that was their question.

Would they go with the “arc of history” or resist it?

Did they eventually accept highly developed European culture to replace their traditional tribal existence? Did they accede to it out of submission, or out of necessity, or out of attraction to the new fancy stuff they saw? Were they conquered? Or were they taken by the hand and brought gently, Christian-like, into 18th-century civilization, and ultimately into 19th, 20th and 21st-century lifestyle?

Look around Hawaii today. What do you think?

They accepted it.

They went with the flow. One thing we know for sure about the so-called primitive Hawaiians of 1778: they knew how to go with the flow. They were here on this remote island in the middle of earth’s largest ocean, long before we technolified haoles were here, and they had arrived here at some earlier time because they knew how to make “the flow” of this life and the Pacific Ocean work for them.

So now, 2018, it is what it is. Hawaii, like every other place in our modern world, is what it is. Some may lament the demise of noble savagery that has been the result of Captain Cook’s intrusion into this paradisical (though deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing) island. Others may celebrate the entrance of the Hawaiians into modern life.

Some may come and some may go.

Captain Cook came. He left and came back again. The beginning of Captain James Cook’s Hawaii experience happened when his crew sailed their two ships to the mouth of the Waimea River— a river that flowed from mile-high Waialeale crater down to sea level at the southwest shore of Kauai.

Waimea1

He died in 1779, shot dead by an Hawaiian on the Big Island of Hawaii, at the other end of this island archipelago. His sudden demise came in the midst of dispute between some of his own crew members and the natives of Hawaii.

Many have lived and died since that time.

Two days ago, up on the other end of Kauai island, the northeast end, at a strand called Larsen’s Beach, we witnessed the life-end of another person, a contemporary. The man was a traveler from Pennsylvania. He had been snorkeling at a reef in unpredictable waters when the Ocean took hold of him.

A little while later, his flippers floated to shore. After we had witnessed a team of chance beach visitors (us), and then a couple of jet-skiing lifeguards from some other nearby beach, and then EMT guys flown in on a “bird,”—after we had witnessed all this collective noble attempt to coax life back into the snorkeler’s breathless lungs and heart, we saw his neon-green flippers float back to shore.

Flipper

Maybe he was going with the flow; maybe he was going against it; maybe he was fighting against the current, or maybe he was just going with that flow of life and death that eventually captures us all.

In my case, that flow will, in the long run, take me to death, and then resurrected life, as was demonstrated by Jesus.

Am I really going with the flow, you may ask, in joining the historical current of the Christian faith into which I was born?

Or am I going against the rational flow by subscribing to such an incredible prospect as life after death?

God only knows.

King of Soul

Sand Beach

June 13, 2018

(With appreciation of Matthew Arnold’s poem, Dover Beach)

The Ocean is strong  today.

The waves roll in; the sun is bright

upon the Pacific. In this island surf the light

sparkles and tumbles; the rocky shores stand,

steadfast and vast, under a friendly sun.

Let’s do the beach; this afternoon’s energy is vigorous.

But hey! from this long splash of spray,

where sea meets the sun-kiss’d land—

Sand1

Listen! we hear the pounding roar

of sand grains which the waves draw back, and fling,

forever, upon this high strand.

Beginning and ceasing, and then beginning again,

with a forceful rhythm it perseveres, to roll

The eternal resonance of wonder in.

Dear Matthew, back in the day,

heard this on the North Sea, and it brought

into his mind the ponderous ebb and flow

of our melancholy brood; we

hear it still the same; yet with that lamenting we discern

a reverberating of relentless purpose

in this pounding Pacific shore.

Oh sea of faith!

Persistent and unrelenting, all ‘round our earth’s shore—

you flap forever like folds of a bright banner unfurled.

Although I also feel

that ancient melancholy, the long, withdrawing roar,

retreating, in the breath

of the evening wind, laden with our roiling refugees

and the uncared-for masses of the world.

Oh, people, let us be true

To one another! For the world, which seems

to boil before us like a pot of strife—

so disjointed, so distraught, so stubbornly the same,

really has somewhere some joy, love, and even flashes of benevolence,

some certainty— here and there a little peace— even some easing of the pain,

while we here on this fragg’ed globe

get swept with fake news and tweeting dweebs who incite us,

as ill-informed combatants clash with their devices.

Glass Chimera

Coast

October 5, 2016

Clear

Coast is clear

life is dear

without fear

now and here

World turns round

up turns down

some get lost, others found

life goes back to ground

Build the town

structures up, but they’ll come down

lots of noise, then dearth of sound

still the world goes round and round

Another day, another turn

some will learn; some will burn

many earn and some discern

still the world doth turn and turn

Clouds rise up

life is tough

times get rough

lose some stuff

When all is said and done

we live and walk and speak and run

we feel pain but we find fun

until this present day is done.

What then?

Do it all again?

How about find a friend

in the one who died and rose again.

Cloud

Glass half-Full

Crawling upon the sands of Time

July 10, 2014

 

If I had a pair of ragged claws

scuttling through surf-tossed sands,

I’d crawl up on this shellshorn beach.

I’d raise my thorny head

to see what I could see

to survey this continental conglomerate

that rises before me

like something big and fixed in time.

Whatever this is,

it is not akin to my ocean, no,

not in constant motion,

but something solid is it

something accumulated in time

something sedimented

into one big thing:

conglbchrck

If I could drag me crusty self

upon that stony shore

I would find me windblown

wood grown structure there to rest

beneath its boney  covering crest

and call meself at home.

bchtreeU

But wait! What’s this?

A thorny beast arrests me quest!

This spiny splort to thwart my sport!

Who goes there?

blowfsh2

Declare yourself if ye be man or beast!

Shucks. ‘T’was what I wanted least,

to share me beach with such a quilly guy,

to see me thorny self within his eye.

Pshaw! to put it politely,

‘though I could use another word,

one that you have prob’ly heard.

Glass Chimera

 

The Interface of Light and Matter

June 29, 2014

After 44 years later of pondering this and living the wonderful life God hath provided, I prefer the Torahic approach to conceiving what God is like. Torah, or Genesis, says God made Man in His own image.  God was expressing himself when created all things, including humans. If we see human characteristics in his handiwork, it’s because God intended for us to see that he was expressing himself through creation, just like we do.

God is an artist, like me.

Those artistic tendencies that he developed within me are what enable me to appreciate the Artist that He is.

Here is an example: 

WavArt2u

Nice work, n’est ce pa? I like this better than, say, Mondrian, Pollock or Warhol. And it’s almost as interesting as Wyeth or Monet.

WavArt6u

Here’s another, with a little more background, like DaVinci adding background perspective to Mona’s portrait, which changed art forever:

Sometimes, God takes his brush and turns it downward with a little perpendicular slash, like Van Gogh:

WavArt5

Other times, God uses his electromagnetic energy to separate Light from Dark, like he did in the Beginning:

WavLght

Every now and then, we see a microcosmic image that resembles a larger microcosm. Here’s one that reminds me of an airplane view I got once, over Utah, or maybe it was Nevada:

WvMicCosm

Another good thing about the Original Artist: He likes to use his critters to help make the work interesting. Here’s one where the sand critters do their thing:

Sandcrittrs

Pretty interesting, n’est ce pas?

That’s enough for today’s gallery. Time for dinner. I think Pat’s throwing a salad together with celery or broccoli, maybe some parsley.

WvPlnts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But listen! What Victorious call rings loudly from yon beach bar? See the “V” in the pic above? Here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, it suddenly has a new meaning:

Viva Costa Rica! Costa Rica just defeated Greece in World Cup Soccer! This has never happened before!

Glass Chimera

A Strand of Providence

June 27, 2014

One of my favorite things to do in this life is visiting the sea strand. The beach. While growing up in Louisiana and Mississippi, our family had many excursions with fond memories to the Gulf Coast at Mississippi and Florida.

After graduation from LSU in 1973, I took a job in Florida and moved to St. Petersburg.

In my year-and-a half stay there I spent many days and hours at the beach, becoming intimately familiar with that setting–that expression of nature’s wonders.

Through many hours of studying the interaction of tidal water and surf-sand, I noticed a few things about the cycles of our life existence.

In the forty years since that Florida time I have visited many beaches throughout the world, from Calabash to Rockaway to Dover and Calais, from Hawaii to China, from Tel Aviv to Cayman to California and Carolina. I love experiencing beaches. Doesn’t everyone?

Today is our first morning in Costa Rica. We got into Liberia airport, then drove to Tamarindo, on the Pacific. So of course I got up early and walked a few hundred yards to the beach. Perfect beach: wide, flat, smooth with very pacific waves, arranged in a classic half-moon arc with nearby low mountains in the distance. Clear morning, not yet hot.

As has happened on may beaches before, the first thing I notice while approaching the surf is that cycle of dark and light bands of sand at the water’s edge, where the waves roll in gently and do their artwork in the sand. My favorite beach characteristic to notice and contemplate.

CostaWvCy

I consider these waves, their perpetual rearrangement of the sand grains, and it takes me back to the time when I first began to notice this universal cycle, back in St. Petersburg. A meditation on nature to revisit. I think I’ll linger for awhile.

Being a civilized animal, I prefer to sit in a chair while thinking. So I go back to the condo and get one.

A few minutes later I am sitting in the chair at the water’s edge, considering the ocean, the sand, the wave motions and their visual record of rearranging dark and light bands of sand, the cycles they indicate or perhaps represent, the universe, God, and ignorant armies clashing by night and Dover Beach and all that stuff.

I think the first level of such thought/meditation is analytical. Is that natural to me as a man, or is it an acquired habit? just something I was taught to do in school? I don’t know. Put that layer of analysis back in a file somewhere in my head and wait for the deeper, experiential level. I am looking at the Pacific beach, which is right in front of me now.

Wait a minute. What about all the stuff of my life that came before?

Now I am a Christian, have been since 1979, or maybe even before that when I was raised Catholic.  So, to base my analyses and judgements about life, its consequences, priorities and outcomes, etc on an ancient Revelation, the Bible, the church–what is that? How does that affect any objective analysis I may attempt? Well, sure it does.

Hey, It’s what I am. I was born into a specific place and time, with all the cultural baggage thereof.But let’s not get too analytical. By grounding my judgements on my own experience as well as ancient Revelation that was handed down to me through the ages, I am utilizing the best of both worlds– the experience of those prophets of old, primarily Jesus himself, as well as my own experience.

Now, back to the here and now. Over here in the sand, dark bands are alternating with light. There is some kind of cycle going on here, some kind of process. Been going on a long time, seems to be universal. Seeing that cycle of sand bands with my eyes is objective. Relating them to other life cycles is subjective. Can I do otherwise? No matter what theses, hypotheses, or conclusions I come to, I am a subjective man, and I will make use, in this life, of both the objective truth that is really out there, the cumulative wisdom of other men/women, and my subjective experience and evaluation of it. I’m going for the best of them all. Do I have any other choice? My options are limited.

To be human means to understand that our options are limited, so we would do well to make the best of them. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t understand, consider and act upon what we do find to be true and workable.

By the way, and I didn’t tell you this before. Yesterday, I experienced the worst pain I have ever had in my life. This was no small thing for me, although in the big picture it is insignificant. It’s over now. That’s the main thing. But the pain experience has produced an aftermath.

How did this pain happen? I had had a bout with walking pneumonia or something like it before we left North Carolina. My head was all stopped up with mucous or sinus fluid or whatever that stuff is that’s stuck in your head when you’ve got a cold. While were in the plane descending to Costa Rica, I had the most terrible half-hour of pain in my life, because I had not done the cold medications effectively.

Now this is getting pretty dam subjective, talking about pain and my health condition, like the 62-year-old-geezer that I have become. I hate it, don’t want to go that route. I’m not stuck in the wheelchair at the nursing home yet. So fuhgedaboudit.

But I do have to say something about all that physical health report stuff, because there is a lesson in it.

So I’m sitting here on the strand with my old thoughts about the universality of the surf and sand, and my right ear is still clogged with that stuff from yesterday’s struggle against walking pneumonia. I’ve been trying for days now to get rid of that mucous.

I tilt my head to the right. Something–a liquid–shifts inside my head, and suddenly I can hear more clearly.

Thanks be to God!

Maybe you think that crediting God for such deliverance from pain is a naive assumption. Who cares? It’s my life, my ear, pain. I will deal with it. I am not only going to thank God for this little relief that came in the tilting of a head,in the blinking of an eye, but I am going to use my God-given hands to begin to solve the problem.

What will happen if I gently put my  little finger in my ear and manipulate that ear canal ever-so-slightly while my head is tilted? Could such intervention, perhaps, release some of the fluid from the ear and thus alleviate some pain? I’ll try it.

I do it.

It works! Clogged ear now clearer than it was.

Praise be to God. Thank you Jesus!

Pretty subjective response, I know–this burst of grateful praise,  but I’ll gratefully accept the little strand of divine deliverance, even though I was the one who administered it.

Now, as for conclusions and evaluations about this  insignificant event while contemplating sand, waves and the universe:

The cycle of pain and absence of pain–it comes; it goes. When the pain comes, it’s hell on earth, but when it’s gone–Thank you, God. A man’s gotta roll with the tide.  I’ll take it. Not bad for a Friday morning.

CostaWvSurf

Glass half-Full

Kai kai Kauai

July 10, 2013

Surfy shimmer late afternoon slant light

hath revealed glimmering

truth that midday overlooked,

as each wave topples in from aquamarine bliss

blasting gold and magic disappearish foam upon the beach.

Silvery rumpled water plane retreats back to sea

leaving sheen that descends into coarse brownsand,

mottled with micro rivulets crisscrossing intersecting

as multiple mini-sandstorms settle from their infinite mini-maelstroms

upon this shore,

racing, streaking wavelets o’er the smoothness of ancient speckled sands

where sandstonish texture takes over as crystalish water is disappearing

constantly and forever

and ever and amen

according to shapeshifting strand line as erratic as

a dowjones database

Jackie Paper will sail no more on this particular

day

but the sun sets down its golden splashes same as

it always has since

God only knows when.

 

Glass half-Full

Kauai kai

July 8, 2013

First is the sunshine, everywhere

bright on this deep Pacific blue; way out there

Puff blows up his silver-whites

and pushes them into distant cumulus piles

onto absolutely flat

horizon.

From there afar sapphire stretches at me

rolling into nearer aquamarine

then clearer azure.

The ocean surfs in, tossing frothy white

o’er brown-gold beach, sloshing

sparkles

everywhere, all the way up

into micro wavelets of universal energy;

they flatten

in sine shadow lines that skitter across the cosine sand.

Eons away from any continent

and far far far from any heckled world

in a land called Hanalei,

Hawaii and Thee

I see.

Glass half-Full

Lover Beach

June 27, 2012

The Ocean is tidy this morning.

the tide is half; the sun comes up

over the swells; Lanai and Molokai loom

across the choppy blue. Old Maui volcano sleeps,

cloudy and vast, heart of the island.

Come to the veranda; bright is the sky!

 

Always, from the breaking waves

where Pacific pelts this sun-kiss’d isle,

Listen! you hear the roaring power

of our planet that flings up watery wings

and pulls them down again on shifting sand.

Roar, and whisper, and roar again

with cyclical slumber to lose and win

a perpetual thrust of planetary din.

 

Poet Arnold felt it long ago

among the pebbles of Dover beach, summoning

the futile strands of faithlessness

and existential woe; I

find instead the inevitability of faith

called up to bloom upon this far-flung ocean isle.

 

The ocean of despair

so near and far in present past, to pound us down on human shores,

throws its tantrum of pointless angst, with cynic sand.

But now I only feel the wave of our resolve

upon a flagg’ed pole of hope,

advancing, in the sun-stirred air

of dawning day, o’er the bright edges of our vision,

as lilies of the field.

 

Ah, love, let us be true

to one another! for the world, which seems

to pound upon us like a surf of strife,

so relentless, so provocative, so hard,

has a terrible power all its own

that would dash our love and hope in forceful blight.

But we here on our sun-bathed isle,

caressed with waves of love and delight–

we subdue the heartless poundings of the night.

 

Glass half-Full