Aug 2, 2006

The rock towers on the beach

If you trace your way to the edge of the map, past where the corner cracks to where the earth scrunches up before it ends, to where the road gets tangled in the crowd of trees, there’s a blank spot there. It’s full of rocks. You can’t find it on the map and you can’t see it from the road. It doesn’t have a name and doesn’t, in any official way, exist.

The people there call it a beach, but you might not recognize it by the name. There isn’t any sand and so there’re no sand castles or creatures. There’s no sun and no people laying on towels or raising umbrellas. It’s just a flat place on the very edge.

It rains all the time, there. It rains more there than there are days in the year. It rains so the woods fill with rain and the mountains fill with clouds and the ground is taken over by streaming rivelets webbing their way outward over everything until you can’t seperate the waters from the dry ground, the soil from sky, the air from the sea.

Out there is a place we called the beach. The beach was there before we were. The beach was there when the first people landed there, when they came up out of the sea and looked up and saw the green and the blue and the brown and the gray all mixing into each other at the edges. The first people landed there and they forgot their name. The forgot who they were and where they had been and why they had left there for here and from then on they just called themselves The People.

The People are all gone now but the beach is still here and we are here, more people who don’t know what we are called or where we were before we were here and all of us wake up in the morning and look out through the long rain at the fog of a world, at the mix up of colors streaming down to drown everything again.

There’s nothing out here. This is the end. There’s no farther left to go. Whatever our reasons were, no one remembers them anymore. We just came, the righteous and the unrighteous falling like the rain. There’s nothing here but eternally falling rain and trees crowding up out of the water into the mountains and the mountains rising backwards in a recoild from the edge.

Somehwhere in all of this is the beach, the blank spot of gravel and stones and drift-off wood and dieing seaweed. You can go out there, if you trace your way to the edge of the map and find yourself standing at the edge of everything and then you’ll see the rocks.

The rocks are stacked up. There might be a like a hundred little towers of stacked rocks, boulders set one on top of the other four high or five high until they come up into a tower. You stand there, in the rain, and they’re stacked from the low tide mark to where the woods start. You walk into that and you wonder what it means. What could it mean? Rock towers.

None of them have names. Nothing’s written on them. None of them are different than any of the other ones. No one admits to building them, but somebody has to do it. It’s gotta be that some of them fall down. The number’s never the same and sometimes there are more and sometimes less but they never go away. They’re always there. No one admits to building them and no one could speak for all of them anyway.

There’s no one to say what they are. Maybe they’re art. Maybe they’re a way to pray. Maybe they’re what sand castles are when there’s not any sand. Maybe people just like stacking rocks.

I was there, standing there wondering what the hell. Realizing I’d come without a coat. I was out there in this blank spot that’s not really a beach and doesn’t have a name. You forget things and you remember things. There was one tower tumbled half way down and I kicked it. It didn’t make a difference though. All the other towers were still there and I could have kicked them all down but everyone of them was anonymous and already abandoned and already given up to anything I could do.

The rocks were just there. They were just there and there was no way to know what they were for, or why anybody cared. Or why I cared enough to kick one and then cared enough again to put it back up. It’s not that they marked nothing, not that they didn’t stand for something, it’s just that even as I built one, even as I picked up a rock and put it on another one and held my hand there until the tetering stopped, I couldn’t tell you what it was. Maybe you know. Maybe you forgot. Maybe you’ll come back one day, stand there in the blank spot, drawn back to the little bit of emptiness on the edge and allow yourself to forget again.