Backwards Through the Looking Glass

(Originally posted on Blogger site.)

A new year, rife with symbolic freshness!

A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at keeping a journal. If I’m being accurate, I think it was a bit over two years ago that I made this decision. Like many of the whims that hit me, it never got far beyond the start — in this case, one entry. So here, I reconstitute that single venture into journaling, and give a little reaction and response. I feel that, by putting here, I’m having it serve a better use than it would sitting on my hard drive, collecting e-dust.


September 15, 2010, 12:22PM

This is new. New. Utterly new.
I’m here, at Long Beach Island. Outside, the waves are moving in and I can hear them all crashing and foaming around on the shore line. Outside the window, I can see them moving and the way the surf creates lines of white in the dark green-blue of the ocean.

I’ve wanted the dead horseshoe crab ever since I’ve seen it first in the dunes outside the shore house in which I’m staying. It’s dead there, in the sand, but behind the protection of the dune-fencing, erected to keep wanderers from venturing up the hills and disturbing the grass there, those last bits of topography that the beach has left to it. Something that the tide hasn’t drug away to the ocean’s bottom. Two days ago, I found the top-half of another dead horseshoe crab, just the front half. It felt like plastic, and I could see the two holes of milky shields where the eyes were — would have been. I’m unsure if there were the remains of prehistoric eyes, or if they were coverings that would have saved it’s fleshier eyes from the salt of the sea water. It lacked a lower half and long straight tail. The dead crab out in the dune has its tail with it still. I want it all. I keep thinking that I’ll place hinges along, underneath the coupling spots in the armor, to keep it together. I want it to have a remnant of its internal strength, what it possessed as cohesion in life. I want it to hang on my wall, rather than corrode in the harsh sun or eventually get swept out to sea, or, worse still, thrown away into the trash. I’ve collected special shells in the same way during the earlier days here.

It’s the halfway point in the trip. We return Saturday, the 18th.

J is here with me. She’s an amazing woman. I say that here, though I say it to her all the time. I suspect she thinks I say it to butter her up, keep her charmed. I like to think that I charm her and can keep her close to me with my words. I know anymore that actions also work their own spells and can impress as mightily. But I say it here to show to myself that it is true. In days where I’m so unsure of so many things, that is something that I know. So many other things start to lack cohesion and confuse or overwhelm me. But that is one of the fundamental things. It helps.

I got this idea because of one quote. That’s not entirely true; I’d been kicking around the idea for some time, of journal writing. I like the idea, but sometimes lose the point in my mind, can’t see why it is worth keeping. Why write when no one will read it? But this idea had clattered around in my hollow mind for a while. But now I decided to jump on it. I don’t know why. The inspiration from the book quote, I suppose. I’m reading The Devil in the White City, and the sentence I just reached had a quote from someone, an architect, in which he was speaking of his partner, and the quote seemed to have come from a journal excerpt, or perhaps a memoir. Anyway, it stoked this little fire. Maybe it will burn out, exhausted with the dwindling caffeine of my breakfast coffee. Maybe it will disappear into nothing. Maybe it will harden and adorn my wall someday.

Something new for me. Many new things for me these days. I can’t go on, I’ll go on. Someday, this might all cohere together, make sense. I hope there is more than just shell left of my life.


That horseshoe crab. Goddamn. I’m still torn about my decision to respect the integrity of the dunes and not walk in and retrieve it. Especially now that Hurricane Sandy has probably reduced or relocated that same dune. Still, the right thing at the time, I suppose. Temporal hindsight is always 20/∞, so there’s no use in trying to be critical of past choices from the privilege of a current understanding.

Funny to think that I was right there, on the edge of the sand, the brink of the ocean. And who knows what that spot looks like now, after the storm came through. When I go back there, later this year, perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of the street or the house from 2010. More movement towards the future, towards the things I want. But, these days, gathering inner-momentum feels easier; identifying my wants is a simpler task.

And I have certainly put to rest my dread in that last line. Within the shell of the self, there is certainly a lot of meat and bone and ligament. Having just had a delicious crab cake sandwich for lunch over the weekend, I can easily attest to this.


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