Spun Out

Blog post
Published: 07.03.2012

I sit on a rocky outcrop. The stone beneath me is solid. I feel the sun on my skin and through my clothes, grateful for it’s warmth. Imagine being reptilian. I hear nothing but the slow, rhythmic sound of the waves breaking with a crump and retreating with a swish. Crump and swish. Crump and swish. Crump and swish. The incremental creeping of mollusks in the small rock-pools occurs in silence ― imperceptible, except for the slow lengthening of their trail in the sand, or when tracked with utmost patience against some object beside them. Nothing else appears to move . . . only the dependable and almost hypnotic action of the waves . . . crump and swish . . . crump and swish . . . crump and swish . . . What else? The sand must be moving, impelled by the action of the ocean ― grinding itself smaller. Smaller. Deep-sea-weeds will be swaying in unison with the waves. Fish swimming in their shimmering shoals, or solitary. Crabs sideways-crawling. Shrimp moving in mini-jerks. What else? What else?

Abruptly, I remember: nothing is still. The earth is spinning, where I am, near Sydney, Australia, at approximately 1400kph, and whirling vertiginously through space at 107279 kph. And the space through which we whirl is anything but still. Vertiginous indeed! Dizzy, I am dislodged from my tranquil musings. Unsettled. I place my hand against the warm stone. In spite of what physicists might say about the vibration of its atoms, it feels still and solid.

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Now I sit indoors writing on a device that operates with the utmost secrecy ― invisibly, except for keyboard and screen ― and for me, for the most part, incomprehensibly. One massive magnetic or solar storm and all is lost. Irretrievable. Is this why I work in stone? for its solid dependability? Its rugged, gritty determination? Its promise of perpetuity?

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I’m house-sitting for my son and daughter-in-law while they play in the snow Japan. Beautiful — but it’s beautiful here, too, by the ocean, and warmer than up in the mountains, where I live. I’m also charged with watering their pot-plants and with the care of their rabbit, Momo ― a small flop-eared bundle of white fluff. A stolid, self-contained creature, she spends long periods just sitting, then suddenly runs in jerks and skitters, leaps into the air . . . frisky . . . jittery. I watch her curious mode of rabbit-ambulation: front legs walking, back legs hopping. It’s tempting to compare her with dear Matilda, who I like to think I know so well after two years, though you can never know a cat.

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Yes, it’s beautiful, here — comfortable and warm, the aromas of the variety of available foods fill the air, and the ocean, which I have always loved, is just a short walk away. But it’s not home. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to feel alien. I change the frequency of the radio and listen to “my” music ― music I would have first heard in my mother’s womb; I feel the rings that never leave my finger, and am home.

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