Yokohama is on the sea, it’s true, but there’s sea and then there’s sea.
We took the train this weekend, down to the bottom of the Izu peninsula, to Shimoda, a city in a small town, a place more the size of the one I grew up in, than the one where I currently live.
It felt like sliding into an old pair of jeans, the ones with the frayed hems and the paint-drops and the many-times-laundered stains of a life, the small (unfashionable) tears at the knees. Not respectable jeans for wearing out, but the ones you change into when you’re home and have nothing to prove and know you can stay a while.
I grew up near beach towns. Something about their off-season solitude and in-season crush that makes beach towns themselves ephemeral, permanently temporary. Places where the human endeavours aspire to good-enough-for-now and perfection is left to nature, and the time saved between is spent in lazy appreciation of now, before we pack up and drive home with the sand still in our eyelashes.
I was a windsurfer once, but these days the lick of the wind on my face is pleasure enough, and to sit and squint my eyes and read the swells and watch the surfers dance along the break.
We had the opportunity last summer, to stay in a little red cottage on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. I was pretty exhausted from the school year’s work, so I was more than content to just sit on the deck and stare at the sea. And I found it totally mesmerizing. How subtle shifts in the clouds changed the way the light hit the ocean, the way the weather moves like a room full of ballroom dancers, all moving together and yet somehow each part doing its own unique thing. My favorite of these is the one with the ship in it (in the bottom left-hand corner), so small and charging ahead into all that grey. It might be worth mentioning, too, that these shots are not in black & white. These are the greys of Newfoundland in all their glorious color.