Of Sand & Bone

Wind blows over the bone. The bone lies on the beach and the wind is strong enough to push the bone like a see-saw on a fulcrum of sand. The bone rocks back and forth in regular rhythm, in time with the wind, a metronome of sand and bone. There is sound to accompany the clockwork femur. The hissing sand, the rush of wind, the ocean not far away. Curving walls of water rising and crashing, rising and crashing. All around the bone the sand is shifting. The dunes are losing their caps. The wind-sculpted dunes are streamlined and shrinking. Tiny, glass-like particles of grit leap from their lips en masse. The whole beach is moving. The bone is captured in a fleeting moment of kinetic grace. This is how I found it. This is why I came.

Sometimes the world conspires with all its strange and incomprehensible forces to bring me to a thing like this. A minor miracle, an odd juxtaposition, a subtle, simple, oft overlooked still-life or the fleeting visitation of a sparrow or a fly. But how can I ever see it if there is no stillness? How can I read the message when I gouge myself blind? When I run on insect time, I see not the tectonic movements of cups and plates. My Jack-rabbit heartbeat was born to flee, but even the rabbit can sit still as stone when he listens and waits with his giant, well-veined ears tuned to every vibration.

Every vibration is a wave. Every vibration contributes to the shift. There used to be a place called Pangaea where all the world was one. Now the land is fractured into pieces and the continents are adrift. One day we’ll all crash back together in a time of hyper-evolution with our brains afloat in jars. Will we even feel the impact? Will sand even exist? Will bone? I am grateful to be living in the time of sand and bone. I love my fingers and I love my crazy eyes. I love my deteriorating knees and my dying memory. I love that I am living and dying at the same time. I love that beneath all this nonsense, these soft tissues and iron-choked rivers of blood, there is bone, gathering bits of calcium, losing bits of calcium, vanishing like the dunes.

I came to the beach with my light gathering memory machine and I discover this sun-bleached remnant of a cow, perched in perfect balance, so that it shifts like a valve, like the movement of a watch, in the wind, directing bits of sand, first this way and then that, tick-tock, tick-tock, digging for itself a little furrow, an hourglass-like shape to my delight, to give me something all too rare but so necessary to my being, our being, this thing called joy that I forget exists because I forget to be still and neglect to see. Every spider, every glint of sun, every human angel, and that means you, and that means him, voices, actual voices, handshakes that linger, eyes meeting eyes, we’re losing that – the soul embrace when eyes meet eyes.

From sand and bone comes this. There is meaning in this. Particles loose and particles compacted. Bonds and strange attractions. Look down. You are there.


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