The sea sings.
All day, surfing in a cove in Narooma-Dalmeny in New South Wales, Australia, in that southern sea and sun; at night enduring waves rippling through my body in sympathy to what sung me.
Waves are not water, but song.
I’m not entirely sure how far I could go, to what extent I can go too far is a sense of measure, meant to provide the bounded a shore for the boundless. An accounting. Fingers and toes. The way wax keeps one on the board through waves high and low.
Deep in his pants pockets, Christopher keeps random bits, bottle caps, and shards of glass, collected in a beachcombing only a child can enact, simply knowing that in detritus there might be messages.
When I open my mouth to let air flow freely, it fetches vowels and when I close my mouth there is consonant trough. Singing requires duration. A word but a “trembling wave of air,” sings Oliver Wendell Holmes.
She sells seashells by the seashore, goes the alliterated child’s wordplay. As we age the shore arrives for our ruins. Wood, bolts, bottle caps. Messages. A wave is not water. It is energy. Resonance. Sympathy.
We are not immune; I am not too cold-faced to not harbor some vast reservoir of compassion to those who failed to see and hear what we witness and record. We tend to be bodies of energy in some kind of syncronous ebb and flow — you laugh, I laugh; I smile, you smile or yawn and the other yawns. Jurgen Maltmann calls it the echo. Yet, I know I can go too far. I never count on others to stack my pages, to count my words as if a share of some distant shore’s accumulate sand. I strive for balance. Move words around, through sheer will and hope that iron indeed sharpens iron, glass is a sand sonata.
Wind is required to make waves.
I don’t know why it arises all of a sudden, but it does. Somedays I miss everyone. I can’t abide by the rules of time and space and it crashes in on me, pulls me out into a surging daydream — should I sink or swim for my life. I think it should be possible to have everyone you ever knew in your life at all times and in all places. I wonder in my sadness and in my hopes I am merely projecting my own loneliness and detachment from my past and its place, its faces; the ache in me? Lost at sea.
“Look, it’s a mesage,” Christopher in Lindsey Hill’s novel Sea of Hooks says picking up a random piece of paper. A laundry list, water-stained, ink blotched.
Sympathy in Greek means compassion in Latin.
The wonder of the shore is what I don’t see. The unobserved surging singing sea beneath the waves, the way things change direction and form as they pass through one material to another. Birds, flying in union, dark and murmuring across the sky emphasizing at once the point and the impression of how seeing this the heart beats correspondingly in iambic. I am I am I am.
Bilabial. Labio-dental. Alveolar. Velar. Glottal, gutteral. Sympathie. Simpatia. Simpatico. Likable.
Water meets sand. The sea a polyphonic spree that slumbers and awakens resonating in me.
How in the 18th century the Viola d’amores was designed not with six strings, but twelve — six hidden beneath the top strings which when plucked and stroked the hidden strings sung out in sympathy.
It’s been years since I surfed, and I no longer feel inside me the shushing of those waves, but the sympathy remains deep inside me, not exactly the crashing of waves, but still some ebb, some flow. A compassion. We tend not to forget what we’ve been told all along.
The sea is a singing school.
Waves are not water, but song.
(after Yeats Sailing to Byzantium)