Sweet brown tender, wrapped up in a cloak of my senses like a gently fading blanket, the smell of sweat and liquor crushed into cotton sheets. Perched on a collapsable stool, I comb my fingers through matted hair, savoring the reverberation in every pore on my scalp. This kind of mystique is the mortar in my foundation, running through every fibre of my identity like Italian marble. I can still taste each delicate pluck of your tongue, a slowly evaporating lozenge that oozes amphetamines to my throbbing blood vessels.
The terminal nature of our torrid affair threw gasoline on the flames of our passion, and the heat left burns in my memory I pray never heal.
What is the sea but a myriad of deep significance that brings life to the creatures of the earth. The sea is a place blissful in its simplicity, one that remains an escape for tortured souls yearning for the emptiness that is fullness, so different from the fullness of society which is increasingly empty. In my youth the sea was a place for recreation, celebrating, and gathering. Alcohol, music, sand castles and football. I would take several days each year to escape the churning torment of my work life, running to Enoshima on weekdays with a six-pack of beer, my iPod and a chip on my shoulder of unresolved dreams.
As I grew older the sense of delusion became readily apparent; in time with increased responsibility and I made fewer such trips. My love of the ocean became distanced and nostalgic, so much that I built my first solo exhibition on the faded terminus of the Odakyu line.
Travelling through Shikoku on my pilgrimage my affair with the sea was rekindled and exceedingly more private, this time an empty expanse of peace in a sparsely populated backwater. A place for meditation, exercise of the heart, and answers, the sea gave me ample opportunity to purge all of the mental tethers I lashed upon myself in the city. Here is the kind of refuge I can forge a stronger core from. If only I can heed the wisdom I know to be true.
There are many reasons to hitch, deriving in some manner from a sense of economy, adventure, or loneliness. There are other options for reaching inaccessible places, and at many times opportunities present themselves at times that require ad hoc decision making. Because I didn’t care for crepes, because all of the anticipation and excitement I felt returning to Nara for the first time in seven years was erased, and instead I felt I needed to get out of there, that moment, and as it happens the train I took lead to a series of transfers which ultimately could get me within a kilometer of my final destination that very night on an unlisted bus route. So I clamoured up the six stories of stairs to the highway bus stop and bought a ticket, sacrificing dinner for an easy day of travel tomorrow. Where I’ll stay I have no idea, but if the rain worsens it’ll likely be under an overpass of some sort.
Why did I come to Shikoku, to far reaches of a prefecture so sparsely populated that several years ago the vast expanse of two mostly uninhabited towns had to be combined for sake of zoning? Because chafing from the seemingly endless hospitality of my in-laws I needed to get away. Away from people and pets, laundry machines, and rooms stuffed with belongings. I needed something of my own, wild, open and serene to soothe my mind, but with barely enough humanity to stave off loneliness. Henro is tolerable even alone because there is a goal and the scenery changes constantly. Only the last three days of my pilgrimage, when I stopped moving forward and set a makeshift camp in an abandoned seaside park did I begin to yearn for the city.
But now I will have all nutrients essential for concentrated production: nature, solitude, and glorious open space. Rise early, do my contracting by day, and at night entertain a good friend who shares my spirit for joie de vivre. Somewhat appropriately from my ever dwindling stack of physical books I’ve brought Big Sur to commune with, though cautiously I look to avoid the same fate as my reluctant guru of rough living.