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Location: Kentucky, United States

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

They move the ocean


On the way home from work a cloud, weary of its weight, collapses, pouring itself out. Condensed, it runs through the streets, light reflecting off its glassy surface. Three miles away it is dry, but here rivers form. Cars turn on their headlights; some give up and pull over, their wipers overcome by the deluge. Almost as quick as it began it is over. The sun pours through, turning the water to crystal.

Other clouds drift by; mountain ranges of clouds, whole landscapes. We crane our heads to see their summits. We pick the spot for our base camps, how we will pick through the glacier fields, where we will make our final push. Because it is there.

To the Sherpas dismay, the mountain changes. We strain our eyes, unblinking, but still it changes. Whole cities appear and disappear, civilizations vanish and flourish. The clouds move on, impervious to our wish to hold them with our eyes.

Where their brother has tired and laid down his burden, others move in, grabbing the moisture from the ground to carry it closer to the tops of rivers. They move the ocean inland, carrying it on their backs and shoulders, pouring it from their mouths and eyes. They move upstream, the salmon following.

We stand in awe of these giants as they pass, oblivious to our admiration. We are too small to be seen from their heights, too ineffectual for consideration.

Our tears are petty in comparison.

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