Here I am standing on a rock. A pretty good picture with my iPhone, I think. What you can’t experience is everything else — the late evening sun on the waves at Pacifica, California, the smell of the ocean and the ‘wine-dark’ look of it. Suddenly the season is October and the air is cooler, and I’m here again, staying at the Sea Breeze Motel. The rain swept in earlier in the day but now is gone. There are two surfers still out on the sunset waves, and the sun is suddenly lighting up the place like a movie set.

I come here because the cinema is always saying something to me. That’s the sea for you. Sometimes what it says is absolutely too much and so I have to look down at my boots for awhile. It reminds me: this is who I am right now. This is who I am today. So many experiences and these are the feet that still carry me to a spot where I can stand and look out across it all. A bit silly, I know. Maudlin. Nostalgic. (from the Greek, nostos ‘return home’ + algos ‘pain.’ And so very dreamlike, this surveying.

I like it here because waking in my room in the middle of the night I can hear the next-door sea thrumming away. I know it follows the ancient pattern, the waves in sync for awhile and then out of sync. They come first well-timed. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. The Greek chorus sings in unison. And then the silence, only slightly too long and I know they have suddenly lost their posture. I hear the white noise of the criss-crossing, demolished forces for awhile. They are all singing their words at once and getting nowhere. They work against one another, and then, abruptly, there is another silence and the sucking of stones deep into the night’s throat. And the big cadence comes again: BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.

It’s dark in my room. I can’t see a thing. But next to the bed I know they are there, lined up perfectly, waiting.