Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dear Diary

Today was brilliant. I didn't sleep in too far, and gave myself a slow enough wake up/get up process that I felt absolutely fine, instead of shellshocked. The sun wasn't too hot, but lovely and deliciously warm and bright. The roll I ate while I walked was also delicious. We saw a cormorant fishing the rocks by the Clovelly cliffs, as if the dashing waves were just a dream. Clovelly was calm, with no swell and slap-happy waves, and so clear. The water bit us cold as we dove in, but Clovelly is full of different waters, and we passed through warm and cold waters alike. Right by the stairs, as if waiting for us, was Big Bluey, the dominant blue groper. An entourage of wrassers and bream followed him, and then smaller striped fish, toad fish and the odd goat fish. Such a glorious velvet blue. I'd never seen him before. Well over one metre long, big enough to grab and throw whole fair sized rocks while grazing. He was unfazed by our presence, and simply continued doing his business. Saw another two smaller females, and a smaller male. Each with entourage. The garfish have grown and grown, and the school is full now of thick ribbons of silver weaving away from me. With the water clear and the sun bright, their subtle colouring became vibrant. Blue shot through the tail, red down the dorsal. Never alone. I saw a small groper missing its upper jaw. Not an open wound, all healed. It was hiding in a crevice. I could see its teeth. Little nubs of enamel, four of them. We sat on the warm concrete and let the sun dry us and cuddle the cold from us. "John's Seagulls" were in court near us; two gulls who get handfed by John pieces of his sandwich, and who do an excellent job of keeping every single other bird away. This exchange takes place apparently every day. One of these gulls had white talons, which in its red webbing looked odd. Then we walked to Gordon's Bay, and clambered over barnacle-crusted boulders. The water here too was calm, and clear, and so deliciously warm. We waded in with ease, until I fell off the drop off. The sand of the seabed was pale and perfect, with small dunes laid down by the waves above, and goat fish leaving frenzied calligraphy on those dunes with their two chin whiskers as they fossicked for snacks. More wrassers, more bream, and many dark wrinkled medium sized fish that simply lay on the seafloor as if terribly depressed. We went looking for the stingarees, but none were to be found. The water was clear and the sand so bare, like floating over a pristine desert. And then I saw it, first thinking it was a clump of seaweed which had broken its mooring, turning to look at it and seeing a sea turtle. Gliding against that white sand backdrop. It caught sight of me and changed its path to give me a safe berth. The gropers of Clovelly have spoiled us with their relaxed and non-threatened nature. This turtle was shy. Once it figured out we were following it, it put the speed on, and without flippers we could not keep up. Extraordinary and completely unhoped for. We tried to high five while treading water and it didn't work. A couple had joined us on the rocks, with an 11 month old Great Dane called Julius, a younger Great Dane pup with enormous feet, and a wee Jack Russell called Troy. They were standing waist deep in the water, trying to get Julius in with them, and he wanted to, he so wanted to obey his human, but this water business. He just didn't know about it. He started barking and wuffing when his humans got too deep for his liking, poor silly boofhead. When we got out, he came over to say hello. Had no idea how big he is and stepped all over us, tried to sit on us. Lovely floppy dog. The puppy was adorable, and Troy came to sit next to us in the sun and get a good back scratch. There's nothing that can cause a grin like a happy dog, let alone three. We basked in the sun some more, and then parted ways. I feel so incredibly buoyant and clean and fresh. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jade & Free

J noticed it first. "I think getting out of the water made you sad."

It isn't enough to enjoy swimming in the sea. The ending of such enjoyment does not lead to sadness, which is a rare emotion to surface, so often with other feelings stealing its name. A small enigma. The next time I left the ocean I paid attention.

It's the tangible, palpable, measurable return of gravity that presses down on my heart. It's experiencing the return of the complete heaviness of my body, including the weakness in my muscles and the dense weight of my bones. Once again it requires effort to remain upright, effort to merely walk, effort to lift my arms from my side, effort to hold up my head, and all the threads of my movement, once again, sigh.

It's a raising of awareness of the corporeal prison I will never escape, and the nature of the long-standing frivolous agonies it contains. Not, I must clarify, a raising of pain. Simply a raising of awareness and direct attention.

This reminder shadows the experience of being in the water. Of feeling almost weightless, and all my movements, grand or fine, seem so easy. There is no heaviness in my body. I imagine I can almost be capable of grace.

It's jade. Varying shades of. When it is clouded this jade is deep, rich and dark, an incredible colour to gaze into. If blue sky is looking down then the jade is bright and strong, and if the sun touches the water it is slashed with bands of pale gold and it is almost turquoise. To immerse yourself in such wealth and purity of colour can draw out a gasp slowly. With grace.

I can contort myself freely. Treading water requires no energy or effort or even conscious thought, and so I can hang suspended and free indefinitely. I can climb up waves three times my height and only be breathless from squealing. Spiraling, diving, twisting and spinning. I will strain myself. It doesn't take much. A few seconds of vigorous swimming, or fighting my ridiculous natural buoyancy to touch the sea floor. Even then, the effort required is something different. Rather than straining against the limits of my body, it feels as though I'm straining against the water. The battle line is external, rather than internal.

That is what the water gives me. A moment of respite.

Getting out of the water does indeed make me sad. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I bought something. As in, I went out of my way to purchase an item I didn't need but wanted, with money better spent elsewhere. Strange, that I always feel a need to confess such transactions, as though unnecessarily participating in the capitalist consumer society was a thing to be ashamed of and be held accountable for.

Especially if it is a blank notebook.

I have so many beautiful, blank notebooks waiting to be bashed about in my bag and violated by my ink. Another is unnecessary, so unnecessary. But it was cute, with differing designs within the pages, and it had dimensions the heft of which called to me. Not burdensome to carry, but not light enough to miss respect.

It's funny that I keep them. And keep using them. Just as I continue with this blog. The notebook is the jurisdiction of the writer. For writing. And I am not a writer. I have not written in years. In years. Yet these accoutrements of a writerly life appear stuck to me. The notebooks continue long after the last story dried out. You know I choose them thinking of what the person who comes after will think of them. As though there will come, in the future, scholars to pour over my scribbles and journals and confessions and analyse this and debate that. As if these writings were ever going to be of interest, let alone import.


We were watching a movie. Only ten or so minutes in. Without turning his head, J said, "You should write more fiction."  His words pushed all the angels of physics out of alignment and from then on the perspectives of the room were never quite right. I couldn't say "stop the movie" as that was too far along the train of thought. "Hit the space bar." That was what I needed. Not why. So I could ask him why he said that, what had he been thinking, to think to say that, right then, and he said I was crying, and I was. I was.

I am scared. I am tired. 
"This is it, isn't it?"
They are two men, not old, in the water behind me.
"This is how we die."

The water is jade. Sometimes cloudy and occluded, other times like glass, but always jade. We float in this wealth and majesty and it does not deign to note us.

"Wait, maybe it's this wave we die on."

From behind clouds came the sun, reclining in the long angles of afternoon, and below me the sand danced. White, jade, and lost seaweed, and the fingers of a star tracing their paths.