So It Begins

“Marvelous night on the Atlantic.  This hour when the sun has disappeared and the moon has just barely been born, when the west is still luminous and the east is already dark.  Yes, I’ve loved the sea very much-this calm immensity-those wakes folded under wakes-these liquid routes.  For the first time a horizon that measures up the the breath of man, a space as large as his audacity.  I’ve always been torn between my appetite for people, the vanity and the agitation, and the desire to make myself the equal of these seas of forgetfulness, these unlimited silences that are like the enchantment of death.  I have a taste for worldly vanities, my fellows, for faces but, out of step with this century, I have an example in myself which is the sea and anything in this world which resembles it.  O sweetness of nights where all the stars sway and slide above the masts, and this silence in myself, this silence which finally frees me from everything.”
–Albert Camus, 1946
I sent this quote out when I left for India in 2001, and it was at the bottom of my e-mail for some time.  It is just a beautiful quote, something to savour, but recently I have begun to understand why it sticks in my brain.

And I think it is because of the dichotomy in the piece and in my brain.  Camus considers the difference between his lust for worldly vanities and faces, and the deep forgetfullness of the sea, the unlimited silences.  I feel the same.  But I don’t have his beauty for words.  I find myself surrounded by friends, all friends that I love, at a party or in the desert, and happy to have them be near me.  But I find that when the party is over, and the morning arrives, I need to be alone, I need to find peace and disappear.  Once I have that time, then I can return to the party, and smile again.

And so I head off into Mexico, with those thoughts in my head, that the only reason I stayin in Los Angeles for so long, was my friends, and how now I plan on, sometime, returning to Los Angeles.  But like a party the night before, where I need a little peace, a little recharging, I head off to Mexico by myself, for peace, and to disappear, but also to return.

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3 Responses to So It Begins

  1. tearie says:

    hey BEn
    I never manage to spend time leaving e-mails to you. I’m finding the onset of winter here making me dream of traveling again. Thanks for reminding me I have stationary(stagnant) too long. Amy plans on leaving this spring to move near Loreli in Tenn. We will keep Eric for as long as it takes for a house closing. That leaves me with getting Dan to leave Alaska for the history of the south.
    You are always in our thoughts
    Have a wonderful journey

  2. Tanja says:

    Really *nice* quote. It resonates with me as well. I think there is a decided ebb and flow in the human heart between the longing for human company and all that that entails and the elemental powers that reflect and echo the breadths and depths of our silences. And, yes, sometimes you do have to go away to come back. (That’s a line from something, and now I can’t quite remember from where…).

  3. Slinky says:

    I love you brother…may you journey far and well, into the heart of yourself and the wild, unknown.

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