Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rain in Carmel

(Pre-Script: This post is best read as the song: "Closer," by Jars of Clay Plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I wanted to go to the beach in Carmel today, but it rained in Carmel this afternoon. I had planned at the last minute to go down to the beach, to walk in the sand that is like sugar, like no other sand in the world, in Carmel, but it was raining, and the rain was cold and wet. There were other places in Carmel that were warm and dry, and they were all indoors, and none of them were connected to the Pacific Ocean, which connects on the other side to China and India, and I could put my toes in it from this side, and know that the waters I was wading also might be touching the toes of a small child on a far away continent, while an impatient or very patient Grandmother stood watch and chided the child to come in out of the water now, that it was time to go home. So I was never connected to that child today, who never had any awareness of me, either, because he is only a child, and at this point in his life, the world revolves around him, the world is contained inside of him , he is the whole world, and grandmothers would stoop to squash it, to contain it, to require the proper washing of hands and wearing of clothing, and all that is mundane . But I turned 33 yesterday, so I think of things like the child on the other side of the world, of the ocean that separates us; the child I will never know or watch grow up and mature on his own, to a place of understanding that he is not the world, but that he stands upon it, wherever he stands, and is connected to where and when he stands,and who else stands here, and when, and what small child might be standing on the other side of an ocean anytime he in his middle ages dares dangle his now very successful (I imagine) toes into it; that he at least shares that connection now somehow to that stranger child, who may well be a child or grandchild of my own, as I sit on the shore and say "Come on in, honey, ,we're going home now. "
Today was not the day to make such a connection. I let the rain keep me inside the warm dry bits, and instead made connections with other people who I could see in front of me, could touch, if I reached out to touch them, could hear their voices and make assessments of their weight and personalities. But in person, in coffee shops and discount stores, people do not tend to willingly touch each other either physically or emotionally, instead we say "hi" and "how are you" shyly, from behind some far away place the real us hides behind, and it is as if an ocean separates us, but at least when the ocean is between you and the other somewhere in China, you are reaching. You are wading as far out as you dare, and the ocean is not self conscious of also reaching out and knocking you both over at the same time if it wants, soaking you to the skin so your clothing sticks to you as tightly as possible, plastering hair to your head, washing away makeup so as to say "THIS is who she is, this is as real as I can show you, her real shape, her true colors. This is the real she that she does not show you, but it is very much like the you you also do not show, and it is very much like that other person on the other side of the world."



Anonymous said...

Very wonderful thoughts... and it was your birthday?! Happy birthday! I like Monterey and Carmel for getaway places. I have taken some prayer days down in Carmel and there is a little chapel at Church of the Wayfarer on a side street I have gone to. Enjoy the rest of the time there, rain and all!

Patrick Brosnan said...

your use of imagery of looking at the people right in front us, inside of our mask, and not really reaching/touching them - then comparing to the boy, seperated by miles of ocean, could be touched by the small ripple of my toe . . if we would get past the elements that will show the real us and get out there and do it.

excellent work

Brian said...

I'll have to read this one a few more times to take it all in...i love the way that it weaves its way in and out of itself always coming back to reconnect everything. For now I'll defer to the wise words of your comment from Patrick, he definately "gets it".

Glad you had a good vacation...hope you got lots of get back to work, you've got a book to publish!