Nearly but not quite halfway thru the year: you're reading this tomorrow in Guanajuato, at 7,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Madre. The ocean here doesn't roar, it's more like a continuous stage whisper, over there, in the misty dawnlight, a hundred feet from the open door of our van. I just drove over here, Samoa, found the little parking spot where we walked a couple of weeks ago after playing on that weird and wonderful concrete loading ramp on our bikes, remember? Steep up, steep down, don't fall down the hole in the middle. Good Earth tea tastes, well, earthy. Our van, our home. An hour ago, 4 am, I needed to get out of our alley home, out of Eureka. The ocean called--not the bay, quiet and serene, but the Pacific, this honest sheen of whirring water reaching to Japan. Now I'm sitting in "your' spot, on the bench seat, door wide open, waves right there, right here. A clear line cuts across the open door: white water above--grey sand below. Water meets land meets air.
Dancing images, wayward thoughts, fractal feelings contrast with the surety of the water. There's nothing ambiguous about the ocean, nor about the lone gull heading south down the shoreline. Completely incapable of being captured as a "scene." It's constantly in motion, the opposite of a still life, dead life. This is more like real life, then I remember that a still life--I think of Van Gogh's sunflowers--is a swirl of atoms in motion (the long-gone original or the ever-volatile oils). Nothing is still, no thing. Not even in death. When I'm dead, before I'm burnt, I'll be an active corpse, a zillion natural processes changing what is--we call it decay, but it's a living decay, no less vital than this breathing, typing-on-my-laptop not-yet-corpse. And later, even my ashes and smoke will be aswhirl with atomic motion. There is no "still" in still life, or anything else.
Notice what is, I instruct my meditators, pretending that there's an is to be noticed. There isn't. No here and now. No moment to be in. Me, when I meditate, I'm as active and alive as all get-up. As Joan (solid as a rock, 40 minutes at a time) famously said when I inquired about her meditation, "I'm designing my next home!" I count breaths, with all the peacefulness of a garbage truck.
We could do this anytime: drive over here, before the sun returns from her nighttime gallivanting somewhere down there, underfoot. Park, open to this big stage of ocean. Cuddle or walk or sip coffee. Consider the sand, admire the breakers, breathe the tang of salt, regard our good luck. Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call... --a woman sang Buffett last Saturday evening at Hasbeans, lips full and expressive, hands celebrating the full range of her guitar strings. Loud, daring, full-on.
All I really worry about is squandering.