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Monday, August 18, 2014

My Trip to Port Aransas, TX: Goodnight Summer, Goodnight Beach



photo credit: wikimedia

My last trip of the summer takes me to the Texas coast. It's time to go after days of play, but I need one last moment on the shore. 

A few others are there doing the same. They stare out at the gilded waves reflecting the new morning sun. Two thoughts undulate in my head—someone bigger than we are had to organize this, and timelessness mixed with newness. Saltwater and waves have been around since the beginning, but the life within is new and ever-changing. Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies, settlers, explorers and travelers find their stories' epicenter in the ocean. I then remember I'm not alone in my adoration. The opening paragraphs of Moby-Dick speak to humankind's shared fascination with water:

"There now is your unsular city of the Manhattoes, belted by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there…

Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster—tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

…There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries…Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever."
Tim Burdick Photography

He goes on to say if landlocked man would find the nearest pond or stream. Artists of landscapes always employ an element of water. A poor man from Tennessee invests in a trip to the beach instead of buying a much-needed coat.


"Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all."

Herman Melville said it best. I have nothing else to say. Now on to fall!