Back to being solo, I opt to spend the day enveloped in two of my most decadent pleasures–a beach read and afternoon writing session at a local café.
Wendell Berry’s The Art of the Commonplace carries me off to daydreams of land-based living, the sound of the waves a steady pace to the turning pages. Berry accompanies Graham and I throughout the continent, expertly weaving seemingly disparate concerns like women’s rights, the degradation of family life, environmental pollution, animal abuse and more to a singular point of tension–our divorce and growing separation from the natural world.
For Berry, today’s problems are all expressions of the same existential crisis, human being plucked from the soil that sustains him and plopped into concrete jungles intrinsically incapable of providing and sustaining us to the same material and spiritual depths as contact with the natural world, and his point of view echoes my long-standing sentiments and realizations regarding this contemporary disquiet and cacophonous experience rife with under-the-surface frustration and angst.
Traveling only reinforces and congeals the puzzle pieces I examine from the outside in, from poverty to global inequality to growing violence, and Berry, Graham and I find, provides us with the most perfect food-for-thought for imagining our next grand adventure, namely, a livelihood of connection, respect, synchronicity with who we are inside and how we must live, honoring ourselves, our planet, each other.
Oh, I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you in hopes that you pick up a copy yourself and push through the academic prose to see the wisdom in the words, some of these prophecies from decades ago still, unfortunately, all too relevant today.
A seagull flies high, crab in his beak, and drop, drop, drop, the crab falls from mid-flight to crash open on the pebble beach, intentional on behalf of bird. Marvelously genius.
The tide begins to rise, and I find myself almost swept away as the salty sea drowns my legs, but, it’s when I watch three plumpy gal pals hike their capris and stand into the ocean spritzer that I laugh the most, for a massive wave comes right as they dare to come in for a close up, smashing them on their behinds like a giant booty smack followed by squeal.
The sounds of the waves drowns out my outburst of laughter, and I take it as a cue that it’s high time to pack up and hunker down at my neighborhood coffee shop, News and Café super cute with its cappuccinos and biscuits and terrace wicker seats.
Channeling my inner writer, I lose myself into drafting my own black on white through the rest of the afternoon, elated and thrilled to play the role of author, however small and biased my readership.