Posts Tagged ‘ocean


it’s for you (ocean-speak)

nothing tells today’s story better than the two images i am sharing with you.


trees that i am friends with, part two

part one is here.

there is a stand of eucalyptus down the street from our house that i have occasion to admire on saturdays and sundays when i walk the dogs at 11 a.m. (yes, it’s scheduled, shut-up.)

but the trees, these particular ones, have taken my fancy, what with their peeling bark that falls to the pavement with a nice cracking sound–loud enough to startle you if you haven’t been paying attention–which happens when your eye has been diverted by the century plant on the right, or one of the dogs rooting around in the dirt, eating god-knows-what.

they frame a distant street, across the chasm of the canyon, that leads straight up and over a hill, disappearing into the blue of the sky, a finger beckoning you to follow (although the street is a dead-end, the views of the ocean at its terminus are quite spectacular, i must show you someday.)

the sun plays with the trunks and branches, the wind weaves its way through drooping leaves, the sound whispery and scratching at your earlobe. it is magical enough to weave a spell around you as you stand there, your mouth agape (well, mine was), dog leashes wrapped around your legs; one headed north, the other south, but you don’t notice, because you’re listening to what the eucalyptus have to tell you.


7 stations on the road to the ocean, after hiroshige (day six)

two meditations

1.  to cure a headache (real or imagined; the imagined one being psychic ache, emotional pain)–close your eyes.

close your eyes and you’ll see that darkness descend, the darkness that all of us see when we close our eyes, with the kaleidoscope of fractured bits & pieces of color and thought falling across the inky blackness of our mind.  among that spectrum you’ll look for a pinprick of white light.  there are times when you may have to concentrate harder than you ever thought possible and then times when it (the white light) is dead center, straight ahead, the light of a train in a tunnel coming at you (without the fear of being run over, splat!).  take your time and focus your thoughts, let the details of the day slip away; let the pain of your headache thrum a little less loudly; stop time and watch that white light.  as you concentrate on the light and this is where you’ll decide how you want the next part to happen, let the light grow and push away the darkness.  for me (and this may work for you as well), i like to wield the white light like an eraser and scrub away the darkness, one corner of the darkness at a time — there are many corners, so don’t be surprised if after you clean one space, it fills up again with the blackness of your pain, but be diligent, don’t give up, don’t let go of the light, keep your concentration and let that light fill your head until you’ve got the sun shining, its energy streaming from your brain pan, shooting out of your closed eyes.  it’ll course through your body (let it) and blast out of your fingertips and your toes.  you’ll be radiant, a sun god, your pain will have gone, you’ll open y0ur eyes to the possibility that you are in charge of your body (mind over.)

2.  to fall asleep (lay down) and close your eyes.

close your eyes and lay on your back (you can do this reclining in a chair or on a couch, just make sure your head and neck are supported.)  concentrate (when you read or hear that word, do you think of concentric circles or a spiral?  it always reminds me of the hindi view of time) on the top of your head and once you’ve focused your thoughts on your hair, let’s say, give it permission to relax, perhaps one strand at a time, or again as a series of concentric waves emanating from the top of your scalp.  next, concentrate (those circles again) on letting the tension from your forehead dissipate; when you do this you’ll notice that your ears will also relax, let them.  think of your eyes, the orbs of that organ, relaxing, your mouth, your chin, let it all sag under the weight of your ease, the pushing of your day away down through your head.  sink back into your pillow, your head a stone weight pressed hard against the feathery softness (for you allergy types, the kapoc softness then), but always supported by the ease with which you are letting go of the tension.

focus now on your neck and shoulders, allowing them to droop, allowing them to melt into the softness of your comfort.  have you been breathing?  take a deep breath and let the tension flow out with your exhalation; inhale and fill your lungs with quiet, exhale and let your heart slow its rhythm, your breathing becomes gentler and slower, your chest and ribs relaxing, exhale, and your gut drops softly against your spine, let your hips and your pelvis fall deeply against the bed.  let your arms become anchors as you let the negative flow out of your fingertips the weight seems lifted, but you’ll find that you couldn’t lift a finger right now, they are at ease.  inhale, exhale.  every muscle, every hair, every tendon, every bone, vein, artery, sinew and flesh, relaxing, relaxing, relaxing.

have you ever felt so heavy?  now let that weight flow down through your thighs, knees, shins and calves; your legs should feel like they’re going to drop through the mattress or the chair right now.  inhale slowly, exhale the tension out through your mouth, like frost on a winter morning (that’s how i see tension, how about you?)  your ankles, your feet, that high arch you inherited from aunt jane and the extra long toe from your great-great-grandmother (the tsarina), should now all be floating, the weightlessness of relaxation yours at last (if you haven’t already fallen asleep.)


7 stations on the road to the ocean, after hiroshige (day five)

“i read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. the president of the united states, a gondolier in venice, just fill in the names. i find it A) extremely comforting that we’re so close, and B) like chinese water torture that we’re so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection… i am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.  it’s not just big names. it’s anyone. a native in a rain forest. a tierra del fuegan. an eskimo. i am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people. it’s a profound thought. how paul found us. how to find the man whose son he pretends to be. or perhaps is his son, although i doubt it. how every person is a new door, opening up into other worlds. six degrees of separation between me and everyone else on this planet. but to find the right six people.”  ouisa kittredge in john guare’s play “six degrees of separation”

i find it impossible to contemplate the notion of six degrees of separation when i am looking at the ocean in this moment.

on the other hand, some ‘big names’ you are now closer to just by knowing me:  bette davis, gloria swanson, christopher reeve, dorothy lamour, ginger rogers, carol channing, rex reed, george clooney, juliana marguiles, anthony edwards, noah wyle, princess grace (true), chuck jones, robert altman, carol burnett, lauren hutton, lillian gish, desi arnaz, jr., mia farrow, phyllis-fucking-diller, jo howard (playmate of the year 1964), henny youngman, erté, leroy neiman, yaacov agam, victor vasarely, alfred eisenstaedt, toby, étienne and quentin crisp.  there may be more, but who cares?


7 stations on the road to the ocean, after hiroshige (day four)

in the short time that your walk along this road allows you, you may find yourself burdened by expectations (praise overwrought), its weight stifling, the proverbial blanket (that puts out the fire); it rarely fans the flames of your creativity (fanning flames already a marker of failure of imagination.)

you may consider the ocean then and its ignorance (blessed) of expectations, its relentlessness, its force, its it (wasn’t that the point of calling so-and-so the ‘it’ girl, they had ‘it’, an undefinable something, true too of the nature of the ocean, would you not agree?)

you’ll have to reach down, far into the pocket where your you resides, feeling around blindly, touching a coin, a piece of string, the prick of the end of a ___ before you feel what it is you were looking for in the first place, the thing that was hidden by other people’s ideas of who you are and what you can achieve (that blanket from paragraph one, remember?)

whether or not you’re able to retrieve it from its inky depths is up to you (or not, it may bubble up on its own, or be thrown from the ocean, like a burp, sudden and unexpected, perhaps a bit of indigestion, acid reflux) to land on the shore, exposed; passersby stopping to stare and point, someone may even call the _________ and they’ll come and throw water over it to keep it alive and wonder how they’ll ever get it back into the water.  (this now the end of that analogy.)

as you walk along the path down to the ocean, you may want to reach back into that pocket (see paragraph 3) and pull it inside out, dumping out the contents, that last bit of lint sticking to your fingertip finally catching the breeze off the ocean and floating away.


7 stations on the road to the ocean, after hiroshige (day one)

you leave the world behind you (lot’s wife’s view, should you turn your back to where you’re headed and look instead at what you’re leaving behind–without the drama of fleeing from the burning hell of sodom and gomorrah and that pillar of salt threat, obvsly.)  what you are setting aside, turning away from, is not, visually at least, as awful as one might think,   it has its charms, its beauty, it’s home after all, but when you do turn your back on it (as we will) you feel a lift, there is a flutter of anticipation — not just brought on by standing up too fast –in your heart, that heady combination of fleeing and arriving.

once the day has begun the sound of the ocean dissipates, even though it looks as if you could throw a rock into it from this height, but that roar and boom (shot from a circus cannon) is replaced by the constant thrum of motors, tires on pavement, the engines of commerce heard from as far away as the freeway miles behind you (city dwellers don’t know true silence, do they? neither do those who live closer to the land–only if you listen deeply and you do have to want to listen deeply or you’ll miss the constant hum of the earth.)

but now, as you walk toward the ocean, even when you briefly turn your back on it to see where you’ve been, the crunch of your footfall on the path keeps beat with the rhythm of your heart–should you be accompanied by a four-footed companion–you’ll also have their snuffling as a counterpoint to your tempo, but it all comes together, sweetly and simply.  (i do think that parts of you start to fall off of your body at about this point in your walk to the ocean; the failures, the missed opportunities, the little procrastinations and white lies — even those that keep society civil, all these plus your petty battles for ascendancy, those small triumphs that bolster your insupportable ego, all of that begins to molt so quietly that you’ll not even notice the shadow of their feathered flight on the wind coming up from the ocean below.)


impressions of a morning walk with joey and billy; birdsong, bees buzzing, the ocean, a tangerine door, sun and palms



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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