Monday, October 27, 2014

Zane Grey

"The lure of the sea is some strange magic that makes men love what they fear. The solitude of the desert is more intimate than that of the sea. Death on the shifting barren sands seems less insupportable to the imagination than death out on the boundless ocean, in the awful, windy emptiness. Man’s bones yearn for dust."
For a couple of years we boogie boarded in the ocean, at Manhattan Beach, and I loved the blue green water and the way the light played through it. The ocean felt like a mother or father who would throw you up into the air and when your feet touched the ground you'd cry, "Do it again. Do it again," all day long, until you were too exhausted to move.

I did it until my knees were too disabled to spring from the sand before the next wave smashed me down again.

Far North Joshua Tree, Summer Storm (This image is not photoshopped.)
I thought I'd lost that feeling until we moved to the desert and I realized we were living on the bottom of an ancient ocean - the panthallasic sea. The sky in the desert is so vast and overpowering, the colors so deep and shifting and ocean-like. I can easily see how Zane Grey could easily compare the two.

For any who might start at his statement, "Man’s bones yearn for dust," let me tell you what this means to me. In the ocean or in the desert I've felt such completeness that the idea of death ceases to have any meaning to me. Survival is a different issue, but death loses its hold. The beauty in the ocean or the desert holds a promise that one day you'll be pulled into its bosom and held there, to become one with it. It's not morbid. It's a bracing and loving promise.