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(At the Ocean He Studied the Waves)

ISSUE:  Summer 2002

At the ocean he studied the waves—how they built and broke, their
regularity and variety. It seemed meaningful, yet no meaning came to
him beyond a sense of boundless space. But ships crossing the
horizon, the shapes of clouds, the calligraphic patterns sketched by
flocks of birds—even these articulated part of his question, an
enigma almost understood. Then he would wait, holding his breath,
as the tension grew and at last dissolved into nothing. Yet when he
walked back to his car it seemed that an answer had indeed been
given, but an answer beneath the level of thought, which his body
grasped as his mind thrashed and faltered. So he kept coming back,
watchful and uncertain, to observe the waves enact their repetitions,
thinking that part of the mystery had been revealed, even feeling
better for it, yet unable to break through the mist—he refused to call
it confusion—that filled the spaces between knowledge and unknowing.


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