Into the Fore

Coast Watches: Twelve Meditations

Prior: Living in a Bowl of Ocean

December 18

At the end of the world, the Greeks thought they’d fall off into the abyss. Now I am here sitting at the edge of the world — ocean for 180 degrees — nothing but whales for miles — and I’m supposed to feel at the end of the world.

I’m at the farthest edge of the US, so far West that I’m out of it — you know, 3 hours later than NYC, the Presidential elections already decided by the time I vote — everything passe, but it’s not true.

Not true at all. How brainwashed we all are, me especially, growing up in the East (or from here, what we’d call the East Coast) as if residing in a distinctly superior world separate from the rest of the recalcitrant USA.

How brainwashed we’ve been by Apollo, sun worship, focus on sun in the sky. Since prehistory. We look to the East for enlightenment — Star in the East, Sun rising in the East, setting in the West.

It’s true the sun rises in the East, and I still face East to greet the new day, though I never see the sunrise. Here because of the ocean cliffs covered with pines, I see only salmon pink clouds reflecting the sunrise, and the sun breaks through the trees about 9 or 10 am.

It’s true I see only the sunset, glorious sun sinking below the ocean horizon. I see only the end of the day, facing The Western Worlds, a metaphor for the end of life, dying and death.

Still, I feel perched on the rim of beginnings, in the prow of a ship — my living room windows angled like the prow of a ship — at the prow of the whole continent._

I am at the tiller of the New, ploughing through unknown seas. heading westward into the Unknown. I am in the captain’s seat of the spinning globe.

Because of the earth’s turning, we in the West see things first. We are the avante garde. We look before us and we see: sky and sea. All possibility.

We are first to see the weather. It comes from the West, and we are the first to know of storms, El Ninos, or halcyon days of early fall._

When Pinatubo and Mt. St. Helens erupted, their ashes drifted Eastward around the globe for days, changing everyone’s sunsets and weather.

We breathe the freshest air. We smell the freshest seas. The waves come crashing in, relentlessly and inevitably to some, but reassuringly to others, a lullaby not of death and dissolution, but of creation and invention._

We live on lava and fault plates. The earth beneath our feet is new, is rising out of the sea. Yes, we in the West are rebirthing ourselves._

Born from survivors, native and pioneer, we are creating a new culture, new arts, new social experiments. Out of fresh air and limitless horizon we create our own forms.

What happens in the jaded, polluted Fast-Trak East affects us little. We have our own sea- breathing rhythm, our own eagle-eye vision. Fish and fern, salal and salmonberry surround us with their wealth and beauty.

We seek the new amid the beauty around us, amid the beauty inside us. Because we can go no further west without wings or sail, we fly through the waves and sail on the wind. We look before us and we see: sky and sea. All possibility.

Next: I Can See the Weather Coming

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