Perched on a smooth slab of Diamond Rock near Kilkee in Co. Clare, trying to lose my addled head in the fulminations of the ocean: it must have been the ions, or the Iodine, but something positive was being beamed back, I felt … I thought? Some of the waves seemed to erupt out of nothing and charge furiously at some isolated hunk of rock, sticking out of the ocean like some marooned sentinel. As they did, little firewheels of surf began to spit out from behind them, so they looked like angry old men of the sea, straggling their wispy snow white manes as they surged forward to annihilate themselves.
The same old story. I was looking for a form of annihilation myself. Is reinvention the same as annihilation? You must die to the self, or the self to you, I can’t remember. But if you and the self divorce each other finally, then what is left?
As I kept scanning for whatever it was, I noticed something else, something that seemed stubbornly separate from the struggle that’s been going on for billions of years. that endless equilibrium of violence between land and ocean. Strange that so much of what we think we see rests on such balances of mutual hatred, the mutual urge to annihilate and be annihilated. What does this tell us about the mind of God, if the notion of such an entity can be voiced without embarrassment or derision?
There was a pool of foam in the middle distance which wasn’t moving like the others. It was keeping itself apart from all the moon driven surge, or at least pulsing to some other drum beat. It too was destined to die in some ungodly synthesis with the rock, but it would do so far more slowly. It was meandering towards death in a leisurely fashion, something like a balloon. Every so often, it would respond to the choreographed violence around it by fizzing and spitting little vertical gobs. Its snort of derision, perhaps, its assertion of separateness. I am in it but not of it. Just like me. Man’s little graffiti of excreta. His ‘I woz ‘ere but not really like, know what I mean? Know what I mean?
And it occurred to me: there is no vista these days that is not blighted by some sort of mote. You have to train yourself, if you are so minded, to focus on what they call the positive. Ignore the unnatural foam on top of all the pristine violence. But are we not missing something in all this focus. And anyway, was the view really so pristine to begin with?