I posted this image on Instagram on the evening of June 24, 2018 while in Newtonhill, Scotland. The next morning I accidentally dated my journal September 25, 2018. With a few edits for clarity, here’s what I wrote:
The North Sea, the great expanse of water horizon. On days when the break between water and sky is distinct, the way it is at home, I have the sense of holding my head a little higher, my spine a little straighter, my breathing a little deeper. The water horizon demands I stand at attention. What does a person without a belief in God do with something like that? Turn to poetry, no doubt.
And then yesterday, the sea&sky-scape was a watercolour, nothing to indicate where one stops and the other begins, but for an oil tanker sitting at some unlikely elevation on the canvas, insisting no, here there is water, not sky.
Last night, about 10:30, the sun had gone down somewhere behind me but the daylight lingered, I want to call it gloaming because it’s too creamy to call dusk. The twilight manifest itself in that kind of 360-degree red ring I associate with midsummer in Labrador. The North Sea, the direction from which dawn should arrive, reflecting the red glow of an allover sunset, and now I don’t know east from west, and the lack of clear line between water and sky gives me vertigo, so the pink mass of North Sea wants to be sky, and earth has just turned into a geometric plane in freefall, I don’t know up from down, and the nervous child in me wants to hurry home to sit in a chair that’s set firmly upon a hardwood floor, where there are doors and drapes to shut out the gaping pastel maw of space without horizon. Gravity, don’t fail me now, my brain is about to drift off.
This is the trouble with being so far north in the middle of summer, you begin to fear detaching from earth altogether. You’re sitting on the rooftop of a jet in mid-flight.