Canon EOS 50D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @70mm, 1 sec, f/3.5, ISO100
Last night I went down to the beach. The moon was hidden from view but the tide was flooded all the way in, so the contours of the beach in the glow of the street lights were different and unfamiliar, drowned in water and yellow light.
I took off my skirt and waded in. The water was cold. A surprising contrast from the ambient temperature. I stood for a long time with the water around my waist, feeling my legs tingle and start to get numb. I looked up at the night sky... dappled by a few wispy clouds. For the first time I noticed that the light from the boardwalk casts a path of yellow reflection in the water and shines directly out to the ocean... a yellow brick road, shimmering, out to sea. Like Dorothy, I felt the urge to follow it.
I finally got up my nerve and plunged in. I felt the skin of my upper arms contract into goosebumps, and I gasped with the coldness. I turned onto my back and ducked my head under, scalp prickling with the salty chill of the water.
Despite the fact that there was no moon it was too bright for very many stars, but I could see The Southern Cross and the Three Sisters. I rolled back over and paddled forward, nose just above the surface, out beyond the swell.
I forgot that the ocean smells different when you're swimming in it. It's a good smell. I stroked around for a little while, tingling with cold the whole time then floated on my back, lulled by the gentle rocking of the ocean. It felt soothing.
I closed my eyes.
... and I thought...
Few people want to know the truth or seek it out, no matter what they say. In fact, many people actively deny the truth until they are forced to deal with it.
We rarely see the world as it really is. Our perception is biased, our memories betray us, and our true motives often remain hidden... even from ourselves.
For better or worse, we constantly convince ourselves of things that are not true. We kid ourselves about the most basic things in life: Love; who we are; what is going on around us.
Most of the time we lie to ourselves in order to maintain a sense of control. After all, no one likes feeling vulnerable or helpless.
All of us experience the world through various filters - most of which are designed to make life more bearable.
Self deception. It's a bitch.
Eventually I swam back to shore, picked up my towel and watched a few fishermen casting lines off the groin. I wonder what they will catch. Who is waiting for them back home... if anyone. What are their lives like? Are they happy?
Music and laughter drifted across the road from the Cottesloe Beer Garden.
Life goes on...
I made my way across the still warm sand. The feeling was pleasant. I got into my car and headed for home and an unknown future. In the rear-view mirror I watched the beach, and the yellow brick road, disappear from view.
... not tonight Dorothy. The road to Oz will have to wait for another time.