"Everywhere but in Valencia people are mowing lawns, planting fences, tuning
engines, counting receipts, baking bread, hanging laundry, keeping the wheel
turning. Tradition, not convention, holds us here in Valencia . In the
valley, the wheel does not turn. We keep it still, anchor it in the beach,
in the brackish water of Vero bay. But if I choose, I could sit on my hands
upon a dune and watch the sky, and when the clouds thin, I can raise my head
to watch the sea terns dipping into the waves and coming forth into the sky,
back into the light.
I could watch them glide inches above the sea...inches above the seatop at
unfathomable speeds. The littleness of the bird, defiant and inimitable
against the rushing backdrop is equally unfathomable, yet the little bird
dismisses it without a sense of ego or bravado. Mass and energy, sprinting
elements of wind and water exist outside the wheel where ambition and
progress is overruled by freedom and instinct. If I chose to, I could watch
the performance from a bluff, unconcerned with its science as the terns
artfully fly undaunted by the sea's eerie and magnetic charm.
I could watch these little birds dance like ice-skating companions whose
familiar touches have been practiced to extinction. I could observe this
foreplay of physics, the mating of balance and gravity that is today, at
this precise moment, more dynamic than ever. And then suddenly comes the
peace. The serenity between the breezes, the incoming waves, the barking of
the gulls. It's like stepping off a treadmill and hearing its wheels and
bearings rub slowly to a stop. And everything is calm. A visual stillness
comes like a meteor getting darker the deeper it moves into space.
It is like a rest in a musical score when the chorus and the orchestra stops
for a beat or two and nothing plays but the space: the silent part that
comes at the end of a foreign film before the credits when it is quiet and
the last scene freezes upon the screen. I could see and hear that today on
Tower Hill if I chose to. It is the last scene when serenity takes over and
the recapitulation finally and really does surrender. The tern drags a talon
along the seatop much like a lazy schoolgirl floating in a raft downstream
dips her foot into the flood, dragging a toe beneath her. "