Monday, November 30, 2009

Whelk Procession


...a line of broken whelks placed like some holy procession the day before Thanksgiving...where, a couple weeks ago, water whooshing back to sea created a kind of sand ridge intersecting the shoreline....some say anything can be a sacred object....I don’t know, but see no particular reason to disagree...


...too cold to go barefoot...battered hiking books press down in wet cold sand...some seepage through worn out soles...but hardly more than the idea of wetness and cold... though that might change if I don’t keep moving....barely anybody else out but the metal detector guys...one in Bermuda shorts, though I’m wearing three layers, and the strong icy wind makes me doubt I’ll get anywhere near the point...but no worn out soul, as yet...still walking... dark tumultuous, thoroughly ominous cloud roof looming above yet ending in a straight but bumpy line just a foot or so above the horizon, where there’s no blue but an odd species of luminescence...clouds, still...but glowing...bare gilded outlines in white light....rotten wooden pilings so dark against the water lapping down below...all that light and dark in sharp distinction but what lines are in between gradually fading...


...had a deep sad thought last night...like someone wrapping me in a chilly, damp quilt...but then watched it dissipate, like a winter rainstorm...

...in better moments I think I’m on the road to enlightenment...then drop the pretense, think maybe I’m just not depressed...though, really, at this point, I can’t say the distinction matters to me much...


15 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

how I LOVE the ocean. what an eery and haunting procession. awesome.

I find the ocean does this to me sometimes- feelings of melancholy and a sense of alone-ness... but in a good way- you know?

enlightenment is overrated anyways.... at least that's what I gather. People with angst are more interesting... lol.

RB said...

I think if you're bothering to contemplate whether or not you're on the road to enlightenment...you're on it. Plus, you're on the beach, which doesn't hurt...

AnnaYaya said...

I love it when people make art out of nature. Once I was at a retreat and I heard a little mouse but when I looked it was an artist making a swirl out of fallen leaves. No one saw her but me, and then I got to watch other people notice the art. It was fun being in on the secret. As for enlightenment, my current goal is to be nonneurotic. If everyone were simply nonneurotic then enlightenment would probably be superfluous.

WR said...

To be non-neurotic...as a pathway to enlightenment...might make that my New Years resolution! Even if it lasted a year, non-neurosis or even non-depressed would be a great adventure. Might even be bliss!

Dr Jay: Your description of the sea, while dark is also beautifully written. The broken shells made me think of the Outer Banks. Other times...other places...

Bob Weisenberg said...

This is why I always need to be near water. I grew up mostly on the Pacific Ocean (Oxnard, San Francisco), but did you know that Lake Michigan looks a lot like the Atlantic when the wind comes up from the East? Or that Milwaukee has one of the most beautiful park-lined shorelines in the country and a beach that could pass for southern California in the summer, complete with 20 beach volleyball courts?

But if you want to see dark and forbidding, you need to walk along the Milwaukee shoreline parks in February, when glacier-like ice covers the rocks and sand and grass.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

Melissa said...

the last paragraph really strikes me deeply. well put.

Deborah Godin said...

Those whelks would have stopped me in my tracks; it takes time to read a poem like that.

Laura Hegfield said...

These are amazing photos of an awesome event...looks pretty sacred to me! Wow!

DaisyDeadhead said...

That is awesome!

koe whitton-williams said...

the photos are stunning. I'd prefer to thing of it as the road to enlightenment.

Lydia said...

This was beautiful to me, every bit of it. A gift to you, to us.

Melinda said...

I loved this piece, Jay--it was melancholy and beautifully written. I could actually sense the solitude of your day. The road to enlightenment is often quite dark at times, I've found.

And yes--anything can be sacred. When I was first in recovery and going to NA meetings (which I actually don't attend any longer), I was told I must have a higher power and it could be anything! I was so angry and rebellious, I announced to the group that my CHAIR was my higher power. The lovely thing about NA and the acceptance of its members, is that everyone thought that was just fine. :)

Take care, Jay--

Melinda

Bob Weisenberg said...

Melinda,

I've also experimented with this same idea--that anything can be sacred.

I decided one night as I was standing at the entrance to my kitchen, that this would be my temple, the sink my altar, and each dish a sacred icon to be chanted over and treated with loving care.

I chanted aloud in Sanskrit as I did the dishes. I was very surprised a how quickly I went from feeling slightly crazy to deeply spiritual.

This is a central, perhaps THE central Yoga idea--everything is wondrous if we just slow down long enough to just pay attention.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

Seeing Eye Chick said...

I like this idea of random Sacredness. That at any moment, Immanence can become apparent through anything in nature or even manmade objects. It reminds me of seeing modern Tribal Shamans, whose jewelry is sometimes pieces of plastic or something shiny from a car. It doesn't even matter if they know how mundane those objects are, and their everyday function. What matters is that they had a moment when they saw spirits within those items. They experienced an ineffable presence and collected said in recognition of that random sacred event.

earthtoholly said...

Great photos, drjay. I'm sure whoever created this would be happy to know it was captured and paired with such meaningful words as you've done here.

I've never really thought about it, but I suppose that just about anything that means a lot to me I would easily consider sacred. Newly sacred items are my dad's wedding band, house key and coffee cup...

Your description of walking on the wet, cold beach...it almost felt as though you were disappearing and we might never get you back!