|My newest greeting card, Coastline.|
Long before I knew better than to go camping or to try and make a friend fall in love with me, I went camping with a friend who I hoped would fall in love with me. Before we even got to the campsite the trip had started to fall apart. We’d left the city later than we’d planned and then on the drive he told me about a woman upon whom he had a crush. She seemed to like him, too, and there went any chance I had. Once at the site – a secluded, rocky hollow overlooking the ocean, sheltered by wind-gnarled pines and soaring hardwoods, we struggled with the tent as the last of the day’s light faded. By the time the tent was up, it was too late to make much of a dinner. As the sun disappeared below the horizon, we sat on the rocks overlooking the ocean. Far out we could see a tiny string of lights, a freighter moored in deep water. Despite the poor start, it was hard to deny the lure of the sound of the waves, the deepening sky and shadow hewn rocks rising from the water.
The next morning I dropped a contact onto the ground and thereafter squinted into the day, the spectacular scenery melting into colorful shapes blurred beyond recognition, the last wisps of the trip’s promise disappearing in astigmatism and nearsightedness.
The drive home was hard. Our friendship had changed, though he probably hadn’t noticed, and I felt deflated, tired and anxious to be away from him. Time has softened the pain of that weekend, of course. Our paths diverged and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. But a thin film of those strong emotions, tender to the touch, remain and resurface from time to time as on the rare occasions that I’m along a coastline; the rocks, the thin strands of sand shining under a powerful sun, the ceaseless sighing of waves coming in and going out all have a sense of melancholy. Beautiful, remote and undeniably solitary.