“So easy in the woods to daydream and pray to the local spirits and say “Allow me to stay here, I only want peace.”
–Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
If you find yourself laying on a prehistoric-feeling rockface while the waves not so far below you crash ruthlessly into the stone, the seaspray tickling your face while your eyes are closed in a moment of true peace, just know that you’ve found the answer you’re looking for.
If you wake up late in the morning after sleeping in, in a home that is not your own, and you hear other members of your family crying out whales whales! and you rush up the stairs as quickly as a half-asleep person does, into the kitchen and up to the wide window to scan the sealine for any sign of the majestic mammals and yes, yes, out there in the distance, you do see the spray shoot up into the sky from the blowhole of a creature that lives out there in the deep, then you, sweet friend, are really living.
When you follow the path that’s been pounded into hard dirt by so many other feet, hiking feet, bare feet, sandaled feet, sheep’s hooves, when you follow that path into the thicket of a small forest, a trickling brook, the footbridge, the pines, some brushy flowers, a hidden sloping creek where salt and freshwater mix, when you take this path, and on your walk you see not one, not twenty three, not fifty, no, more like hundreds and hundreds of sea lions bobbing along the coastline, and are they looking at you? Yes, they are definitely looking at you, right at you! from hundreds of feet away, but they see you and you see them and there is a link between you and these animals, their dark eyes knowing you, readily, up there on that cliff, please know that there is an invisible line of silk connecting you to them, them to you, so you know the truth is that there is no separation between you and the sea lion, you and the sea, you and the rock, you and the urchins in the tide pool, you and the grass, you and the whipping wind that tangles your hair endlessly, you belong, you are a part of this, this wild abandon is yours and you belong to it.
But you can’t take it with you. You have to leave it. This is difficult with all the rainbows and whales and stuff. But you have to leave. If you stayed, what would you do here?