Vanishing Point, photographic art by Yorozuya Yohaku
The others walked on ahead. I wondered where they thought they were going. Jetties don’t lead anywhere. Aren’t they constructed as barriers against a powerful sea?
My friends stood for quite a while at the end. Someone may have asked, “Why isn’t John with us? “He’s like that,” someone else might have said, “kind of a loner . . . but deep, like the ocean.”
“And cold and potentially dangerous, like the ocean, as well,” another, still upset, might have added.
But I’m not trying to be anything—not deep, cold, dangerous—nor shallow, warm, unthreatening. I guess I thought that to be close to anything or anybody shouldn’t be as easy as joining a pilgrimage out to the end of a jetty—or sitting in a theater.
OK, I’ll come clean. At dinner, I said something stupid. Everyone was having a good time talking about some film they had seen about coastal species that are threatened by climate change. I guess because I hadn’t seen it, I felt I had to excuse myself in some way. So, I said something, way too forcefully, that was skeptical of the alarmist tone of the film, as they had described it.
There I was, foolishly trying to make some grandiose point, when all they wanted was to reflect on a couple of thought-provoking hours in a theater. Faces went sour and an awkward silence all but took over.
The jetty walk was proposed, I think, as an opportunity to bring things back to a positive point. That’s why I stayed behind . . . so as not to further crash against what remaining good feelings they shared.
As I watched them come slowly back, I felt like diving into the bay to avoid their eyes. But then, one longtime friend among them shouted out to me, “We decided to keep you off the endangered list—for now!” Everyone cracked up and a couple of them gave me hugs. One even planted a kiss on my cheek.
An overwhelming 88 stories were submitted for the contest. In the end seventeen writers were chosen. Their stories are told with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection with the sea into words.
The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for our project that enabled the Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.”
Please ask your local bookstore to order it in for you or, if need be, purchase it HERE. All photographic art is available through Gallery Fukurou at info(at)soloncenter.org.