And if there is one thing we can be sure of, it's that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the British floods""disasters that, combined, pummeled coastlines beyond recognition, ravaged millions of homes, and killed many thousands""are going to keep coming.
Oceans recede and coastlines wither and crack. Nations lapse; others soon swagger in their places. Mountains crumble to dust, rains vanish into the sea, winds return whence they came, and every city men build has but a jumble of bones for its foundation. What is your need to me? I am the Watcher in the Dark.
J. Aleksandr Wootton
A mile below the lowest cloud, rock breaches water and the sea begins. It has been given many names. Each inlet and bay and stream has been classified as if it were discrete. But it is one thing, where borders are absurd. It fills the space between stones and sand, curling around coastlines and filling trenches between the continents.
Why is geometry often described as 'cold' and 'dry?' One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity.
There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it. It was a living thing that was as unpredictable as a great stage actor: it could be calm and welcoming, opening its arms to embrace it's audience one moment, but then could explode with its stormy tempers, flinging people around, wanting them out, attacking coastlines, breaking down islands.
How had it happened that when choosing the men and women who were to be torn from this subjugated plain, the hand of destiny had stayed so far inland, away from the busy coastlines, to alight on the people who were, of all, the most stubbornly rooted in the silt of the Ganga, in a soil that had to be sown with suffering to yield its crop of story and song? It was as if fate had thrust its fist through the living flesh of the land in order to tear away a piece of its stricken heart.
This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page. To describe space: to name it, to trace it, like those portolano-makers who saturated the coastlines with the names of harbours, the names of capes, the names of inlets, until in the end the land was only separated from the sea by a continuous ribbon of text. Is the aleph, that place in Borges from which the entire world is visible simultaneously, anything other than an alphabet?
There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it. It was a living thing that as as unpredictable as a great stage actor: it could be calm and welcoming, opening its arms to embrace it's audience one moment, but then could explode with its stormy tempers, flinging people around, wanting them out, attacking coastlines, breaking down islands. It had a playful side too, as it enjoyed the crowd, tossed the children about, knocked lilos over, tipped over windsurfers, occasionally gave sailors helping hands; all done with a secret little chuckle