Monday, December 12, 2016

A Mass Turquoise the Size of the Sea

It's been a very long time since I've done this: write something set to music. I have trouble concentrating without some kind of white noise in the background. This morning while I was writing my book I decided to give it another shot. The following was inspired by Nick Johnson's Latest Album Remarkably Human. Please go and support it. Buy it. Its a phenomenal piece of  progressive instrumental work that has a thematic flow to it. See below for the title track from the album.

In the sea there is a vibrating stone.

I'd seen it as a child, at the beach where my parents were born. In the early morning, when the sand is a pale grey, I would walk out and see it. It would haunt and hover over the waters like a solitary spirit. The hide was leathery like a sea tortoise, ribbed with smooth stone-like mounds the size of seashells. There are no eyes, mouth, anything distinctly denoting an animal or otherwise. But there was a sentience burdening the creature.
I told my therapist a year or two ago that when I saw the creature I never fully convinced myself that it was from another world, that it was some creature come from distant worlds to make contact with another race. It was from Earth, from the waters. I knew it. Standing by the water, I saw that it would try to speak to me on the winds. Whispers and sighs hanging on the air like the flapping wings of a seagull.
Now that I’m older, I’ve come back to the shore hoping to see the creature again. It’s been 40 years since I last saw it. But I’ve lost hope. That’s what happens when we grow older. The wonders of the world diminish and what impressed and amazed slowly becomes rote and familiar, like waves eroding at the proud cliffs above the beachhead. It all comes crashing down as year after year disappointment and reality sets in. My faith in the creature, whatever it was, has waned too much. And it won’t come back for me, take me away from this place that I loathe, that I desire to escape. Take me to the depths, underneath the waves to the center of the earth!
I remember the time when I was 8 years old. I was running on the beach. Once, it was early in the morning. I had gotten up to see the stone that hung in the air. It was floating close to the waves, sprayed with white foam. Birds of the air had gathered on it. Pecking its hide for parasites and other food. I approached, wading in the frigid waters up to my waist. The stinging cold hardly dissuaded me, soaking me to the bone through my pajamas. I reached up and touched it, the stone. A fire burned in it, a warmth that I cannot, to this day, describe rightly. A primal passion of the world, of life in all its wide spectrum, for all history. I wanted to be with it, to love it, to never let go. The creature vibrated at different frequencies attempting to communicate to me something deeper than any philosopher had ever spoken, but it was all lost on me. The creature lifted higher, beyond my reach, and flew away. I wept in the water. I didn’t want it to go. It left and I never saw it again.
I take my family to the same beach now that I’m older. There’s a campsite above it and a trail that runs down to the waters. Sandstone, so brittle and fragile, makes it easy to descend. Easy enough for a child. My son is old enough now to understand the beyond things, and I wonder if the creature has appeared to him yet. But now I can see it in his eyes: the unsettling realization of otherness. One year I resolved to stay up the entire night to watch him. I hid waiting in the darkness sipping coffee, watching my breath steam in the cold night. My son got up once, about 3 AM. I followed him down to the beach, and watched him wait, looking disappointed.
I realized, grasping part of the railing leading down to the beach, that in my selfishness I had deprived my own son of another moment of magic. So I turned around and walked back. It wasn’t until I was back to my tent when I heard my son speaking on the winds. I closed my eyes and began to sob quietly. That night I got little sleep.
It's so clear in my mind, the massive shape of turquoise like a wall of sound, a ward against suffering and discomfort and confusion. As I reflect on it, I grow less certain if I ever knew what it was: the consequence of age, really. Memory is so unreliable. “It must represent some trauma from your youth,” my therapist told me in a session recently. Frankly, she doesn’t understand why I keep bringing it up. She looks at me like I’m crazy sometimes. She doesn’t understand.
I asked for my inheritance early from my father so I could buy a house on the beach last month. Construction on the plot of land begins in two months. I think my wife suspects something but she remains quiet.
As I grow older I’ve considered that the blue-grey mass represents death. The impregnable vale of the unknown. The creature accepted me once, and thoughts of suicide made me consider that I could see it again. Not even the love of my son can hold me back. I must know! I must know…
It’s okay, it’s okay.
Everything will be okay.
The mass is waiting for me, and it will take me away from all of this.
It will vibrate me away, back into the sea, subsumed into the turquoise.

 Everything will be okay, again.

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