Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Anacapa and Santa Cruz were both lost behind a veil of fog this morning. My brain felt much the same as I tried to remember what the yoga teacher said. It was something I needed, something I relished when I heard it, but then it was gone. Hidden like those islands, sunk inside me somewhere, and I am mentally stretching out my arms to it, trying to pull it back, this perfect thought that meshed with the gears of my particular now.
Beach glass comes in four basic colors here on the sands of Margaritaville. Clear, amber, blue and green. There are, according to my inventory, two shades of amber, perhaps three or four distinct types of green, and two vastly different colors of blue--cobalt and aquamarine. Yesterday, for the first time in my 15 months of collecting, I found a piece of red beach glass. Today I found two more. Like the bit of illusive yogic wisdom, beach glass can shimmer right there at your toes and then be swept back out to sea again.
I berate myself sometimes for the beach glass hunting. Is it some weird compulsion like egg collecting? Unlikely, I suppose, since it's doubtful that I'll wipe out the world's supply of Heineken bottles. But I worry about the recognizable gleam in the eyes of other beach glass fanciers if we happen to lift our eyes from the sand long enough to speak. I'm sure the heart of the man I spoke to this morning began to beat a little faster when I showed him the two ruby morsels.
All I know is that I can arrive on the sand, heart sometimes still pumping residual dread even after yoga or t'ai chi chih, and after my fingers trace the sanded curves of what was once sharp and dangerous, I feel smoother too. I bring my pocket full of jewels home and rinse them in the laundry room sink, then lay them on the kitchen counter so my mother can see them. Each time she's amazed, and some mornings we hover over them, marveling like two old dragons, proud of the treasure amassing in our lair.
Only the wildlife at the shore can easily pull my fickle eyes from the treasures on the sand. Pod of whales, school of dolphins, flock of pelicans, or willets, or curlews, or other birds--and I am at the mercy of the intangible connection I feel to the creatures who inhabit the place I love best.
There were birds this morning flying from north to south, barely visible at the smeared line where foggy sky met foggy sea. Almost like floaters in a damaged eye, they felt both real and like a hallucination, these birds who must have numbered in the tens of thousands, moving across the parchment of the horizon like an infinite calligraphy. So many birds that I stood watching, awestruck--almost frightened--at their numbers. Too far away to i.d., they kept coming. I walked for an hour shifting my eyes from the sand to the the horizon, and always when I looked up, the line of birds was there, winging onward as if they knew something I didn't. Something I should flee or fly towards, something I can almost see, but not quite.