Castle Rock Diary


I’ve claimed this rock as my office.

It isn’t wired, there’s no desk, just ledges of rock in seemingly infinite variety. I can recline, as I am now, against a sheer face of granite, my butt leveled on a jutting rock below it. But the problem with working out here is that I get distracted: today I’m pulled by the mustard sky, a belated sunrise to the southeast, where a fishing boat has dropped anchor against the glowing horizon line. I take too many pictures here—hungry to capture the enormity of it, the possibilities, the fickle mood of the water.

As an artist, my work is done for me: all I have to do is show up, point, and click. But I want more than that. I want to dive into it, this beauty; to find a way in so that it trickles through my cells, replicating in wondrous, happy bursts.

As an artist, my work is done for me: all I have to do is show up, point, and click. But I want more than that.

Castle Rock - northeast viewpoint

So I sit here however often I can: if only to remind myself that this, this water and earth, are the place I now call home—having come from a place that was lovely in its way but for me, parched; no splash of brine against rockface, the nearest lake lapping against a mossy, cattailed shore a half day’s drive away.

This is the dream come true—my Midwestern expansion, all the way to the coast. Call me a New England pioneer, even though I lived in this state as a child. I lived away long enough that another place became home, even though a part of me never left this one.

I haven’t stopped craving that metaphorical diving in, plumbing the water from this rock from where I’ve spied a lone seal cavorting on a whitecap morning, the waves furious and slamming in a steady pulse; heard the staccato of wings as another lone animal, a goose, articulated a water landing against a mattress of water. I’ve spied fishing boats trawling for a catch, or stopping to check their lobster pots, all in a day’s work; and I’ve been interrupted by the crunch of sturdy, flat-heeled shoes against gravel as a gaggle of vacationers walked down the path to my sanctuary, Styrofoam cups in hand.

They ignored me, just as I ignored them.

But that is OK in its way: I have work to do, here, with words, on the other side of the rock where I’ve ventured today—further than I’ve ever climbed—where I can no longer see or hear the comings and goings down the path from the road. Not even the inhabitants of the castle, for which this outgrowth is named, can see me here. Ironic that I am concealed from them, but not from the larger world: the vast, open expanse of ocean, and all that lives within and floats upon it.

I have vowed to come here as often as I can manage: barring gusty winds and ice. One day I’ll no longer feel that anxious quiver in my knees as I peer over my footrest to the churning water below.

No seals today, and the geese have gone, too; morning breakfast dishes cleared from the water’s riffled surface. I snap one more picture, contemplating whether or not I will ever make the effort to paint this buffet of images: a thing that could easily distract in a manner so permanent I might not ever set fingers to keyboard again, which is, of course, just another means of capturing the ever-changing spectacle from upon this rock.

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