Tuesday, January 7, 2014


We paused to see if the coast was clear. The dunes were soaked from the morning dew,
gravity defying spume jetted over the cliff lip and settled into the sharp sea grass at odd angles to melt.
 Waves exploded as they slammed into the rock face, trees gave sound to the wind. 
Ms Riley and I were alone.

Ms. Riley sniffed her way through the forest edge. I chose my footsteps carefully on the slick rock, bending slightly in a crouch to break a sudden fall. My eyes remained on the ground in hopes of spying an arrowhead birthing itself from the pores of the sandstone.
We emerged from the tree line and spilled out onto a crumbling plateau overlooking
the ocean and sand dunes. As I made my way down the first ledge,
I glanced backwards and caught sight of a gigantic carved sculpture in the nose of the cliff. 
Eyes tilted towards the sky, lips as if filled with melody, it was outrageous and shocking,
and yet earthly; the face somehow belonged to the landscape.
It evoked all the idiocies of humankind: man versus environment, King of the pond, ego.
It was also an oblation of sorts, a recognition of beauty, and untamed greatness;
an offering to the unknown.

I grew up mostly in urban wilderness.
Few times in my life have I been truly immersed in the 'Nowhere'.
There is peace and reverence to behold in the truly wild.
My parents taught me never to deface trees, to leave no trace,
to let the Wild be as much as possible.
Still, I shouldn't be so surprised to see human imprints on these ancient trails. 
There will always be 'that' kid that screams in the library, or
 the kid that has to tag public spaces. 
Time will eventually erode the sandstone offering, the face is only temporary. 
Until then, it will be a reminder to pass down taboos, and teach the right way to
respect the wild we tend.

Past                                         By Pablo Neruda
We have to discard the past
and, as one builds
floor by floor, window by window,
and the building rises,
so do we go on throwing down
first, broken tiles,
then pompous doors,
until out of the past
dust rises
as if to crash
against the floor,
smoke rises
as if to catch fire,
and each new day
it gleams
like an empty
There is nothing, there is always nothing.
It has to be filled
with a new, fruitful
then downward
tumbles yesterday
as in a well
falls yesterday’s water,
into the cistern
of all still without voice or fire.
It is difficult to teach bones
to disappear,
to teach eyes
to close
we do it
It was all alive,
alive, alive, alive
like a scarlet fish
but time
passed over its dark cloth
and the flash of the fish
drowned and disappeared.
Water water water
the past goes on falling
still a tangle
of bones
and of roots;
it has been, it has been, and now
memories mean nothing.
Now the heavy eyelid
covers the light of the eye
and what was once living
now no longer lives;
what we were, we are not.
And with words, although the letters
still have transparency and sound,
they change, and the mouth changes;
the same mouth is now another mouth;
they change, lips, skin, circulation;
another being has occupied our skeleton;
what once was in us now is not.
It has gone, but if the call, we reply;
"I am here," knowing we are not,
that what once was, was and is lost,
is lost in the past, and now will not return.


  1. Oh my goodness, I haven't been here in ages! Lovely story. And wow, that face! Spooky and mysterious. It seems like such an ancient thing, and maybe sometimes a message from ancient people is worth some carving in a rock face. Maybe. :)

  2. Beautiful picture and story, just disappointed that it didn't shoot out poisoned darts from it's mouth. Well, I'm happy you and Ms. Riley didn't get hit by poisoned darts, but you know what I mean. ;)