Monday, June 19, 2017
The Middle Watch
I look out by looking in, knowing that every ripple and reflection of that calm moon are thoughts perseverating and reverberating in my head. They seem the same but I know they are different for they are cast upon the water. And are they feelings, emotions? Of what kind? The duplications and subtly nuanced differentials of hatred, loathing, fear, dread, love. But in the middle watch I am free of the Sun and all it's gradients of sentiment, for I am become the night: beautiful in profound robes of black.
But I'm fooling myself: this is as much a sentimental education as any.
The salt water is as fragrant and encompassing as pollen in the spring, and I feel it bear its life upon my skin, my hair, and my thoughts. Out of this I came and to it I shall go. I think of all the salt waters I have felt and floated upon: Mono, Salt Lake. I have yet to visit the Dead Sea, but those salt waters—bereft of the ocean—seem freakishly prone to religious ecstasy and concomitant idiocy. I prefer the sea.
The prow sounds like a great brush coursing through the hair of our Mother in the night and She combs and combs until Her hair—the mass of us as filaments of being—waves then weaves together and comes apart at the ends. Some split into the warp of dementia, others simply die at once and are remembered, eaten, loved. Atropos is not so dreadful as She is careful and care-free. The cost of Her stylings is priceless and to be had in infinite permutation.
The trade winds drive the ship through an ocean of warm, humid air. I look above and around me for signs of change. On land, I and many others look at the ground, as though we are certain that death and devil will spring from some chasm that opens up especially for us. Or we fear the gaze of a stranger, a lover, a parent.
At sea you keep your eyes aloft because that is where your death is. The ship rejoices for the speed of a gale, but remember… the gale doesn't kill you. It's the fall upon the deck or in the sea while reefing that kills you. It is any of these contrivances of geometry, textiles, carpentry and metallurgy that can pull you apart like a corn doll. And then there is always drowning. Or dying of thirst.
A squall is fast overtaking us. It means some tight work on the sails, and putting out the buckets for catching that life. The squall soon erases the moon and its sparkling poetry upon the water and I remember that it has always been this way in an endless circle upon the sea.