Liquid Trance


Low tide quietly lapping on exposed spartina grass.
  • This time of year, depending on tide tables clouds and heat, we often grab towels and head for a local beach on Long Island Sound.  Retirees doing nothing at all to help the planet.  On the other hand, we are not aggravating it nor anyone else.  The waves roll in, sparkles fill the wide bay to dark trees on the far shore as randomly placed boats glide or race about.
  • Waves flow hypnotically.  All identical, each unique, close to eternal.  They have rolled onto similar sand and pebbles and rocks since the oceans formed, billions of years ago.  Well before life, they were cresting and swishing.   No matter what happens to life from here on they will continue until Earth itself ends in barren cold or fire depending on the type of death of the sun.
  • Watching them easily fills an hour or more.  Pure mindless meditation, no possible meaning, no logic, simply being.  It looks like there is a pattern, but that too is illusion.  Blink eyes and everything might appear totally different.  I accept this pleasant trance and feel my soul being restored.


Almost dizzy just trying to make sense of this.
  • If mosquitoes are not too thick, chased by moderate sunset breezes, we sometimes sit and watch the sun _ the bloody sun in most travel literature _ slowly drop below the horizon, outlining trees on hills rising above puppy cove.  Rather than becoming blinded by staring at the direct spectacle, I concentrate on the constantly moving abstract spectacle of reflections and colors on the water’s surface.
  • We could claim there is no art here, for there is no human creation.  But I am involved, so I represent the human element, the artist who chooses what to see as well as the audience who appreciates what the artist has shown.  Perhaps it illustrates how complicated the idea of art may be … but then I am drawn back in, watching distortions and sparkles and sudden patterns that mean everything and nothing.  The dominant colors change with the minutes, and finally the glow dies and we scamper back as tiny thirsty creatures of the night regain their territory.


Just back from Rochester, where the high falls are full following months of plentiful rain.
  • What a day for a daydream.
  • What a moment to consciously appreciate


Canandaigua, one of the finger lakes, provides a slightly different aspect of water meditation.
  • I wish to praise stages in life, which is hardly in fashion any more.  Infants are preplanned into trajectories before they leave the womb, children are prepped to be adults by hovering parents, adolescents fear permanent failure if they stumble.  And then each individual fights a long slog of conflicts while trying to pretend they are growing better and not older until the day they die.
  • Perhaps it is better to try to accept the wonders of our changing condition.  An infant is potential glory, but also a miracle as itself.  Childhood should if possible be a time of play and joy and lack of responsibility,  adolescence should be carefully matured with grandiose dreams, young adulthood should be a time of excess and exuberance, later adulthood through middle age a time of mastery and accomplishment.  And finally accept later years to retire to a life of contemplation and providing advice. 
  • Once upon a time such a route was a worthy goal, for those fortunate enough to live past forty or fifty.  One of the aggravations of our current culture is the belief that each unique individual must freeze identity from year 0 to 100.  


As temperatures climb into humid high nineties, an excursion to open water more inviting than a woodland hike.
  • Classic movies show the bows of majestic sailing ships cleaving water smoothly and quietly, perhaps encouraged by surfing dolphins, while wakes roll out from ponderous sterns.  Such wave actions are less prevalent along our shores, more likely to catch high chops from racing cigarette boats, all sizes of pleasure cruisers, and speeding jet skis.  The tiny perturbations of small sailboats are lost in wind crests.  And the gigantic swell of tankers or freighters passing along the sound vanish into tidal rhythms.
  • Even the momentary surface appearance of such bodies of water is so comple
    x as to be frightening.  And that ignores what really happens beneath and around _ huge volumes and actions nobody can truly appreciate.  But the surface is what I see _ spray and sparkle, roll and whitecap, infinite, eternal, transient, momentary, and only meaningful this second because I happen to be looking at it.


Reflection perception presents multiple puzzles to be solved by how we focus.
Water, Air, Sand and Rock are discussing permanence with the Sun.
“What are you talking about, Water,” asks Sand.  “I keep my shapes a lot longer than you do.”
“That makes me laugh,” snorts Rock.  “I’m here millions of years, you know.”
“I’m around forever,” claims Air.
“Nobody sees you, you don’t do anything, wind lasts less than Water here,” replies Sand.
“Well, so have I, in that sense,” says Water.
“Children, Children,” calls out Sun.  “We all have our own times and moments, all the same, all the time.”
“What?”  they chorus.
“It’s only those pesky humans who notice time,” Sun tells them.  “My billions of years, Rock’s millions, Sand’s minutes, Water’s seconds, Air’s moments _ all the same thing to our way of being.  It’s only those foolish people who live in time.  We just are, forever.”



Amazingly we can easily separate reflections from objects to make sense of our jumbled visions.
Swish in, flow out, ripple, reflect, lie still
Immerse myself in great floods outside
Conscious of larger ones within
Attempt full awareness
Calmly accept


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