– Beach landscapes –
< November 2008 >
I once met a guy on a remote beach. We chatted a bit, and I told him that I always walk on the wet part of the beach, leaving my foot prints exposed to the sea to wipe them out before she recedes. It gives me pleasure to leave no foot prints, to leave the beach clean and unspoiled by my presence. Even in a much more general sense it often gives me great satisfaction when I manage to leave no traces in my life, to leave nothing behind when I leave. He looked at me with an intrigued expression and recited a poem he’d just written about this, “Letting the sea wipe out your track.” I don’t remember the text but I remember this stranger speaking my thoughts. (They are never really strangers, the people you meet out there in the wild!)
Leaving no traces? – Of course it’s just an idea. It’s impossible to exist without leaving traces. In fact, the only proof of our existence are the changes we leave behind, clearly regardless whether intended or unintended. It may be just a romantic tic to hug the water line in order to keep the pristine appearance of the beach when walking, but for me it is an expression of reverence, and it is an expression of attentiveness and caution. It is so necessary to be aware of our tremendous ignorance about the actual extent of changes we cause. Why leave traces when we can avoid it?
The sea comes and goes. When the tide goes out one wave always happens to be the very last one and leaves its semi-final mark, a story of the past; until the next tide comes in, wipes it all out, and writes a new story with a new final line. Traces of turning points.
The heron in the morning doesn’t like to be disturbed. He often seems almost arrogant, insisting on respectful distance, demanding veneration and worship, knowing perfectly well how breathtakingly beautiful he is, how he graces any scene with an inspired touch. He croaks in utter disapproval when he unhastily flies away if we come too close.
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Klaus November 17. 2008