I wasn’t going to do waves again so soon but a storm came up and the wind was from the south. That was the thing. My friend Edie, who is working on her 89th year, said that wind like that almost never happens. She said she could count a few times in her whole long life when she saw a storm with wind like that, coming from that direction. She said I might never see it coming that way again.
So the waves rolled in with churning dark water and frothy white water, and with mighty streamers blowing back, as big as the waves themselves. Blowing back, as Edie’s father would say, like stallions. And the waves came all day, and the weather changed in morning light and evening light and with clouds overhead and clouds parting and everything in between. I filled up all of my memory cards, then I went home to unload my pictures and then I went out again. I got 1600 pictures.
I have so many pictures that I don’t know what to do. I’ve been going through them for days, now. And Edie helped me look at some of them, and Bill helped me also. I thought at least I could pick a few to show you, some that Edie liked (because you could also see Block Island) and some that Bill liked (because of their depth and power) and some that I liked (because of the way the spray and sky and the light merged together, until you couldn't tell one from the other).
I wish I could make them big for you, big like they were that day, big like the world. I can do so a little, I can try it with my printer, but of course I can’t do it in this blog. I hope that you can imagine them anyway, because when things like waves are bigger than we are, I think it makes a difference. I think we can know them better if we can see them or feel them that way.
I can come to these waves again and again, until I forget to continuously bother myself with the fact that I have not finished cleaning the attic or the basement or the closets. All of these together, comprise an historic and archeological wonder, created in twenty years of emergency cramming, a new layer made like rings on a tree, every time we moved out of the house for the summer. It is taking some time to sort things out.
I know I have to finish, and I’m doing it, I really am. But I don’t have to make it my life, because in between, I come back to these waves. I can see the old sun, the even older ocean, the beloved land, the new light, the fresh wind, all of it together in so many waves - beautiful waves, thundering waves, breathing waves, giant waves. And you and I can see these waves as no one has been ever able to see them, not in all the hundreds of thousands of years that human beings have been pondering the ocean. Who before us, could scoop up these waves and put them into pictures? Who could freeze them in motion, the way that we can? Who could hold them and hold them - let them soak in? Who could put them on their cell phones and carry them in their pockets? Who could look at them, every detail of them, who could count every sparkle, every color, every spray whenever they wanted, a hundred times a day?
We know the world by sight. Here’s a number for you. Human beings take 83% of their information in through their eyes. Don’t ask me how scientists get to that number, but they say that's how we’re made. Like dogs know the world by smelling, as bats know the world by echolocation, as owls know the world by hearing, and spiders by the vibrations carried through their webs, we know the world by sight. That is how we do it. Seeing is believing - that is what we say. So what could we know now? What do these pictures show us? What could we know now, that we could never know before?