Tuesday, November 1, 2011

West Coast Heart

With my ever west-facing orientation, it is hard to convince myself that this wind-peaked water is not the sea, the tree-covered land mass beyond it not an island, as the sun sets behind it all.

The way I am wired, suns set over water, into it, as it were, and slumber there until they make their ways beneath the earth to the other side of the world. They heft themselves into the sky again from behind the land, which is sometimes flat and sometimes mountainous, but always, always sprawling eastward.

The sun here is as light but does not warm in the same way it does in, say, California or Hawaii...and yet there is some promise in the warmth it does give. I have not left you for good, it sighs, lighting a blazing pathway across this water which flows, if I look closely, from one side to another, and not in heaving waves that spill themselves on the shore. Forward and back. Forward and back in the rocking motion of the sea.

No, the Hudson is a long pathway from one place to another; it is nestled in the trough of its riverbed and lays itself out across the variegated landscape. Islands have emerged directly from the ocean floor and exists in the water's salty embrace. Certainly I could drive over to Hilo, the east side of the Big Island, and see the sun rise over water. This is not the difference.

It is the difference of the sunset, I decide. It is the difference of where the sun sleeps. Good night, sun, I whisper to the train window that separates me from the cool evening air, and it is in this way each night I relinquish the Hawaiian sunset that has become a part of my consciousness and which I know I will always carry in my West Coast heart.

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