We are truly blessed to live in a town that is flanked by the inimitable Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Monica Mountains on the other. An eclectic mix of wildlife, from Sea Lions to Pelicans, Mountain Lions to Bob Cats and of course at certain windows during the year the migrating Whales who stop off to roll and play in our local waters.
The Flickering Light and the Rusted Nail
Way back before… long before the Victorians promenaded and the masses were drawn to holiday by the sea. Around the time when smugglers sneaked out under a waning moon and clandestinely lured ships onto the jagged rocks to spill their booty. At this time deep posts were sunk into the coastal sand, the reason for which has been lost to the tales that died with ancestors who witnessed first hand.
At that time large iron nails were pounded into the wooden pillars, cold immovable pins tempered into man-made form… Time passed and seas regressed and transgressed – ebbed and flowed – a perpetual action, a symbiotic collaboration with the moon. The roll and rub of consistency, that rounded course pebbles, ground shells to sand and polished glass to curios laid out for the eager eye to espy and pocket for prosperity.
Over time the ocean clawed back parts of the solid coastline, drawing it back to the murky depths and the pillars succumbed to the physical hypnosis of the same movement – the continual slap of surf and consequent withdrawal, an elemental cleansing of sun, saltwater, rain and breeze. Still though the pillars stood, shedding the fixed covering and spitting chunks of driftwood back out to sea. The pillars themselves had dug deep, their footings at rest on the bedrock of implacable ground formed when continents shifted and molten rock spewed up from the earth’s core.
This same bedrock also held the foundations of the lighthouse that came to shine its beacon out into the dark and foggy cloaks that night often wore - the starless shroud that would pull long forgotten memories up out of the rocks as they remembered shipwrecks. Memories that would waft out over the lapping waves to attach like etheric cords onto modern vessels, calling the silent haunting dirge of the smugglers need. Just then though the light would pull strong from its elliptical curve and dissolve the nefarious legacy left by long dead raiders and grateful, the ship would change course, skirting deaths edge and ploughing on productively through the waves.
It was on just such a night that a faint gleam emanated from the tip of one of the nails. A recent storm had flung stones out of the waves, and one had hit its bolted head scattering rusted flakes onto the gale force wind. Here was where the light from the newly built lighthouse struck the next night and an appreciation was formed. Both nail and light shining anew onto nights previously owned by the dark.
Time was on the bolted pins side, centuries of weathering had fissured the pillar, akin to the freeze / thaw action that can sometimes break rocks. Each night the nail eased a fraction further out from its pillared constraint reaching for the metronomic shine, a lodestar on which to reach for freedom. In the way we judge time, the nail’s progress was imperceptible but year by year decade by decade night would come and the battered pillar would ease its knotted joints that tiny bit more and the bolted pin would reach also that tiny bit more to catch the light.
A progress of release, motivated from that one generous gleam of the ships protector - a light reflection that had been possible from rusting over time and then taking one final assault during the tempest. A daily easement, a daily tentative reach for the light, a motivation a collusion with time and previously steadfast constraints
It’s close now, time when synergy collides. The final flickering of light meeting the final sigh and release from the weathered pillar and the final subtle shift for the rusted nail’s drop to freedom. Washed out on a new tide, carried towards new horizons, embracing the latitude to float and to move to be held and to be carried. Choosing fresh shores and as opposed to being fixed, immobile and singularly used. A previous stagnancy and decaying from rigid purpose re-enlightened re-oxidised and released, all from a flicker of light meeting a sliver of silver reflection.
Like the rusty nail… despite our own jaded suffering or our belief that our history has us trapped and is causing our purpose in the world to stale, all it takes is one little gleam of our own hope to connect with the light needed to motivate us to break free from our circumstance.
Jules Williams 01/08/2014