Video: beneath the sea in the Philippines

“Every time I slip into the ocean, it’s like going home.” 
Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer

There is something magical about being underwater. Gravity is much less relevant here. You feel the swell of the tide gently push and pull as you float along the reef. You hear the clicks and pops and alien noises of the deep, and you watch as your breath rises in columns of bubbles toward a receding world of air and light.

Here time seems to slow down. Here your spirit grows quiet, pensive, present. Breathe in, breathe out.

Float, glide, rise, fall.

This video was filmed in Dumaguete and Apo Island in April, but I just now got around to editing it together. Enjoy!

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Siren song: San Diego to Big Sur

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
-Buddha

Big Sur, Calif.
Big Sur, Calif.

The towering cities of the East inspire in me a melancholy contemplation of humanity. The organized chaos of urban density forces me, hesitantly, to confront the relentlessness of time and cultural experience in a way few other places can.

But it is in the deep skies and open lands of the West that I find solace.

I left San Diego on Saturday after a week of good food, dog beaches, tennis in Balboa Park, and runs along the marina with Ben and Bridger. I dropped Ben at the airport on Saturday afternoon for his flight back to New Mexico, and set off north with my dog.

I made a slight detour to Nuevo to pick up a puppy that needed delivering to the Bay area, which routed me around Los Angeles the long way, skirting the metropolis to the east and the north. I always try to avoid L.A. whenever I can. Unlike the condensed vertical landscape of New York, Los Angeles casts a wide net, sprawling across an enormous stretch of terrain. Its labyrinth of congested freeways tangle together like a massive web, millions of cars shining in the sun like drops of dew along each strand. I sped though as best I could, knowing that if I stopped I would surely be caught in the sticky suburban web. Surely if I stopped I would be devoured. Continue reading

Silvery edges: Maine

At the edge of consciousness
Where the lines they start to fade
Where the spirit goes undressed
Of all malice and brocade
At the edges, silvery edges
Where the mirror it bends and stretches
Past the edges of this world
Where the waters crash and curl

-David Gray, “Davey Jones’ Locker”

Birch Point Beach.
Birch Point Beach.

There is a power of place that transcends memory, time and logic. Smells, sounds, and shimmering moments of déjà vu conspire to transport our consciousness somewhere familiar, yet somehow altogether strange. For me, Maine is one of those places.

Situated so close to the mega-metropolis of the Northeast (only a few hours’ drive from Boston), it’s startling how tranquil Maine can be. The landscape, in summer, is quite picturesque: rolling green fields, dense woodlands, and winding rural roads. Homesteads and mansions alike pepper the coastal towns, lending a decidedly domesticated atmosphere to the region. I am accustomed to the rugged, gaping expanses of the West and, in comparison, coastal Maine does not feel at all wild. Even when a moose or a fisher can be spotted, or a giant snapping turtle crosses your path, it feels somehow… tamed. Compromised. It’s almost as though these creatures are intentionally making an appearance. As though they have agreed to participate in this quaint scene.

Even the Atlantic ocean here is subdued, its power diffused by the myriad islands and peninsulas, tiny wavelets curling over your feet almost imperceptibly on the beach. Indeed, a far cry from the thundering surf of the Pacific.
Continue reading