The Sea and the Cliffs and the Edge

The Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, Ireland.

Music, an art, a philosophy, a religion that inspires us to look at nature and rejoice in our amazing luck. Being there. A literature, a poetry, a

choir that lifts us above the smoggy everyday to hold that part of nature in our eyes — wet, windy, and free.

Everything combined to form the song of the earth, the book of nature, the maxim of the sea. Everything pulled together to make us never forget our place here, our one and only home. Now and forever.

Henry David Thoreau said:

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.


Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa. 1829. Japan.

When I walk along the beach and look at the ocean, I see something beyond myself in a way I can’t fathom, as deep as the ocean is to me. I can’t fathom that depth, and not understanding it, I know myself better for a moment, am happier for being here, alive, breathing in the salt air. Breathing out thankfulness. I know myself better, am filled with wonder at the depths of this mystery shooting out toward the horizon, shooting out, spreading out to my left and to my right, as if I am the center of all things, knowing I am not.

Blaise Pascal said:

Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.

 Mountains, cliffs, journeys beyond the plain, don’t just lift the spirit, they lift the eyes. Looking up at them, slowly, we are humbled. Looking down from their heights into the valleys below, brings a sweet laughter we can use when we return to them. I want a drama of difference–sudden, lyrical difference. I want baroque landscapes, days and nights!

Rachel Carson said:

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life

 That said, there is work to be done. We can not be aesthetes alone. Though our souls may yearn for the food that gazing brings. The gaze that brings us to the brink of satiety.

There is work to be done. And there are many ways to do that work and many ways for us to find our way. There is a crossroad for each generation, a point at which we should say, no more! A point in which we grab hold of the earth, the sands, stand firmly, shout out in rebellion, we will not let you take the oceans from us, or the skies, or the mountain tops!

 Anton Chekhov said:

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day [Uncle Vanya, 1897].

Thoreau said:

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

Love of Nature surpasses love of country. It engulfs and surrounds it. Takes it over. Makes it seem too small, not good enough, too easy. Preserving, protecting and cherishing Her includes love of country, of all countries, kills many birds with one stone. Well, let me rephrase that . . . .


The Sea and the Cliffs and the Edge
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