Three hundred gulls feast on crab stranded on a weird high tide where the sand is banked at almost a 45-degree angle to the ocean, the “face” of a beach I think scientists call it. Face of the beach. I like the sound of that.
Fog envelops the beach, thick, quarter mile visibility at most. I can’t see the ocean but I hear the rumble. There’s a rumble going on.
I find a sand dollar and it reminds me of her. I leave the sand dollar behind and begin walking into the fog. Ten, 20, 30 yards, and the lessons slowly materialize. It’s a curious sensation to walk into thick fog and realize that things are becoming crystal clear. Clear as in what I must let go in my life.
So much already released this past year that I can’t list them anymore. To list them would mean they haven’t truly gone away.
It wasn’t enough, I see that now, in this fog.
There is the ultimate of letting go, not of hope, of aspiration, of dreaming, of someone, but of a Plan. Plans are useless to me. It is all about improvisation, responding with jazzy movements to turns of events or non-events. How do you improvise when nothing happens? When there is no ensemble playing with you? When there is no audience to take cues where to take a performance?
And there are no improvisations possible on an old performance.
I sit down and pull out a blue book and pen from my backpack and begin to write about the total extinction of myself, to release that one great thing that brings me the most terrible suffering—a Plan.
This writing emanates from the fog while I sit on an ancient driftwood round with 168 rings near a fort I built that virtually no one in the world would understand why I had to build. There was no plan in it, I assure you. I built with what I found around me, could reach, what drifted down from the watersheds without any plan of its own. Driftwood is like that.
Am I becoming human driftwood?
I think I just asked the greatest existential question of my life.
The fort will disappear with the next high tide. I’ll build a new one tomorrow morning, some unplanned, momentary concrete thing out of certain evanescence. Why build? I don’t know—yet. I do have my suspicions.
Note: I write this in a drizzle. The paper is damp. Already the ink is fading.
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