Lands End. World-weary and diseased, we come fleeing the world’s horrors. Our feeds bloated from the latest mass killing. A poet’s tribute, the memory of boys dancing in her native Bahamas: swaying bodies, purple shimmering wings.
There’s horror and there’s our politicians’ responses to horror, horror’s horror: the crude, blundering xenophobia of the Bombastic Buffoon; the presidential calls for “ramping up” bombings and increased surveillance by Madame. On a runaway train we witness the twilight of Empire, its unraveling. But still there are bills to be paid, dirty clothes to be washed, toddlers with low-grade fevers demanding oatmeal with the small spoon, now.
Once the Yelamu Ohlone lived here. Here the edge where land meets water; jagged, monumental cliffs, a nagging feeling of vertigo. Here rolling sand dunes deposited by wind and waves over thousands of years, patches of wildflowers: mustard-yellow, purple, cherry-red. Here cypress groves and the blueness of the Pacific, ruins of old bathhouses. A line of birds. Because beauty so disarming, so sweeping is difficult to apprehend, we are forced to parcel the landscape, or hide behind the camera lens.
Windswept, the cold jolts us out of our obsessions, cleanses the political toxins cursing our veins. Here looking down at the waves crashing against the rock, listening to foghorns in the distance, our minds wander to earthquakes, tsunamis. We become cognizant of endings, not in the mind, in the belly, viscerally. There’s duende here, a marriage of dark and light, a sense of our cosmos, of transience.