November 23, 2014

New Zealand, Spring : Wild Coast, West



The howling wind on the deserted strand hits me with unexpected strength, and I dance on one leg to recover my balance. Droplets are torn from the fabric of the wave and carried far across the sand, making it look like rain. The black quicksand leaves constellations of mica between my toes.

It's September. I'm on the west coast of the South Island.

A few days ago, I was standing on a side road with my thumb up, the weight of my bag carving a line into my shoulder. I got two different lifts from the loveliest people, and ended up here. I didn't think I would stay, but here I am, four days on. Still standing on this beach which may be the most beautiful I've ever seen. I am alone here. Not a voice but the wind's.

When you're traveling, the thought of leaving is never far away from your mind. You have to keep moving, keep planning. But sometimes, you'll come to a place that won't let you leave. For every place you go, there's always a moment when the fantasy of it, what you imagined it would be like, will be eclipsed by the reality. Sometimes, the vision and the real will merge, leaving you facing a sort of canvas dripping with paint, the drawing showing under the melting colours. On the other hand, perhaps there's nothing special about those places – they just become what you need them to be.

To be able to stay here, I worked in a yellow hostel right on the beach. The sounds of the waves lull me to sleep every night, and wake me up every morning. The rain is frequent and hard. Some days, we can't even go outside. But whatever the weather, the sea is always angry. The foam crashes on the sand and remain there for hours, forming ugly masses of yellowy grey. Every tide brings a mountain of driftwood pieces, and I collect too many of them. The sea is green, brown, royal blue, deep purple, but mostly, it's black. Then the sun starts to set and it turns to liquid gold.

It's ineventful, but beautiful. It's exactly what I needed.

This is an excerpt from my diary I thought I'd share ; a poem written at dawn.

I stood above the waves and let the howling wind steal my voice.
I don't need it. May it fly overhead with the raging seagulls and never return. I wish this for every part of my body.
Often, when I face the sea, an strange impulse arises to walk towards the water, and keep walking. I dream of disappearance. I dream of returning to the womb.
My heart is somewhere between wounded and jumping. I write on the sand with the sharp end of a piece of driftwood (that looks like a shark, but friendlier) : Still. Not. Enough. And the sand is wet to the touch.
I stand above the waves as they crash and I scream without hearing my scream. I scream the name you gave me once, in secret.
I think, maybe you can hear me.
But also,
It's okay if you don't.

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