Click. We're off and running. The new Olympus OM2n perches on its tripod, its 21-mm wide angle eye cyclopsing the pass between Malololailai and Malolo. The bottom of the focusing circle rests on the horizon and the right side of the circle just touches a tree on the edge of the fourth hill from the south side of Malolo Island. A balanced shot. A beautiful day. The sky is deep blue, almost cloud free, and the air fresh and clear. I began the sequence called 'tide breath' at exactly 11:30 AM. The camera takes a shot every four minutes. When the slides are projected at 24 frames per second they will show the tide flowing in and out at 3.7 second intervals. This is how long it takes me to breathe in and out when I'm relaxed and breathing deeply.
I try to imagine what it will be like, seeing Sea's breast rise and fall in synchrony with a hominid breathing rhythm. This part will be near the start of This Magic Sea. To get 14 seconds of it on film will take ten rolls of film. I check the rolls of Kodak 64 film in my gear bag. I also have five rolls of 400 ASA High Speed Ecktachrome for the night shots.
If I select slides taken every high and low tide and project them at about one second per slide it would reflect my relaxed heart-beat.
This will be the part oof This Magic Sea that says,
"Click,"says the Olympus. Seems to be working just fine. I check the polarizing lens, rotate it slightly to get the deepest blue sky. There, the view looks great. It's not quite low tide and the shallow pass is almost empty of Sea. A brilliant expanse of white sand glitters in the foreground. The camera is just far enough back from the edge of the beach to catch the fringe of the coconut trees on top and on the sides of the frame but otherwise I have a clear view of the sand flats.
A group of Fijians amble down the beach on Malolo and cross the pass while I sit on a beach towel with Force Majeure thundering in my walkman earphones. I settle back on my elbows, watching as they wade through the thigh-deep water left in the middle of the pass. They move in perfect time to the music, even though they can't hear it. There is a blue canoe resting high and dry on the sand. When the tide is in, the people use the canoe to go across. As they walk the sand flat towards the beach, unknowingly dancing to the music of Tangerine Dream, I recognize them as 3 waiters, 2 waitresses and the gardener at Plantation Resort.
The Fijians working at the resorts have a little Fijian village for themselves on the North side of Malolo. It gives them a chance to get away from the tourists and white-man resort atmosphere and be comfortable in the cocoon of their own culture and traditions. They smile and wave at me as they stroll past. I like the Fijian people. Just after they turn the corner to walk the long curving beach to the resorts the Olympus says, 'click'. It missed the Fijians, but it captured their tracks. In the movie, it will seem as if the tracks appear mysteriously in the sand. But it will all happen too quick for anyone to notice. Except me. I lay back and contemplate the visual feast of time lapse imagery.
Just before noon I get up and walk down the beach and out onto the sand flats of the pass. From out here I see Freddy getting in the Zodiac from Moira. Coming with lunch. I stand at the edge of the water. It is still flowing out very slowly. Just about low tide.
Strange how music colors everything. The walkman dances Force Majeure through my brain and the whole world changes. It's a moiré effect.
Two behavior patterns superimpose on each other to produce a third. And the third pattern is unpredictable based on the examination of either of the single patterns alone. The music dances the neurons and the dance influences every message they send about the world of the lagoon pass between these two islands.
Force Majeure. A force too powerful to resist. The perfect music for awareness awakening and evolving within This Magic Sea. The force majeure is the unrelenting drive for survival, the need to reduce the error of expectation by improving perception, memory, reaction. The electronic music, combined with images like Sea breathing, beating, thinking, awakens primitive recognition codes, shaking even the DNA in their comfortable little communities of inflexible tradition.
Each level in the progressive stages of awareness happens at a set interval. As life evolved new layers of behavior onto existing patterns, the interval of awareness got longer. In jumps. The individual gets the news of the error of expectation first. It sends its signal to the community and forgets it. The community takes a longer interval to become aware of the error of expectations. By using time lapse, we enter a longer interval of awareness and the world really does seem a different place.
I first heard this music at the Aquarium de Noumea when Yves showed Freddy and I around. I said I liked it and Yves recorded this tape of Tangerine Dream's music for me as a gift. It is perfect for the sound track of the movie. The music is alive. It learns, progresses, weaves patterns of sounds into moiré' designs and plays with them, building new sounds and patterns from the successively generated moiré' patterns. Each new theme starts within the harmonies and beats created by the old themes and Tangerine Dream makes them grow like seeds, interacting with the parental patterns until the younger rise above the older to form giant flowering trees of music which again send out forests of new themes.
It's as dynamic as my own stereo vision. Each eye sees its own field of vision and when they are compared in the brain, the moiré' pattern developed is called the third dimension. Di- two, mens - thinking. Twin thinking. Or split thinking.
Looking back at the shore I see the wall of coconut trees rowed up along the two long beaches. They intersect at an sharp angle at the point where the resort beach turns into the pass. I am facing the point of the angle and my stereo vision makes it very 3-D. Combined with the overlay of music, the scene is vibrantly alive, the coconut trees move, grow, dance to the web of sound twanging my neural net of perception.
Freddy noses Zod up to the beach and I walk over to help her carry the lunch goodies to the work site.
The central problem, posed by the Tide Breath sequence, is can we consider Sea a living entity? Quadralogic says yes because when we talk about living we are dealing with information flow. A flow within the envelope of individuals and their mutually interactive internal and external environments. No flow exists without both parts interacting. So the issue is really about interacting.
She's got a big basket of cold drinks and sandwiches. As we return to the camera base on the beach, we circle out onto the exposed sand flats to look into the tide pools.
Freddy calls, pointing to a tiny, colorful eel slithering through a miniature coral garden. The eel, alarmed by the sound of her voice, whips under a ledge of coral and is gone.
It's past low tide now and the flood has begun. Slowly at first. Confused eddies of a faint, brownish white froth form along the edge of the pass. Brittle stars serpent their spiny, segmented arms out along the underside of the incoming tide water, thousands of their little fleshy feet lick up the foam, searching for tasty tidbits.
I walk backwards, watching my footprints appear in the moist sand. As we approach the camera I realize Freddy and I will flicker through the movie like ghosts. Probably the viewer's unconscious will see us: a subliminal supporting role within This Magic Sea.
Freddy lifts one earphone off my head and asks, "What's so funny?" I realize I must have laughed out loud.
"Nothing," I reply, "Just enjoying the music and the sun and the whole thing."
She reaches over and lifts off the earphone again, "You don't have to yell." She yells, and lets the earphone go with a snap. I put down the basket and she begins to lay out lunch on one of her hand painted pareos.
And is This Magic Sea alive and thinking? Same answer. Yes. The flow of information defines This Magic Sea. Our awareness makes it alive even though it is a miniscule portion of it.
I look through the Olympus and check out the relative proportion of Sea and beach. Looks fine. The sand is biologically produced. Is the beach alive? I tweak the polarizer to adjust for the movement of the sun.
Freddy is wearing a bright red bikini. Her base-ball cap has stars and stripes on it like the U.S. flag. She plops down onto a big beach towel and waves me over for lunch. As I walk towards her, Tangerine Dream builds this incredible crescendo of sound and I can't resist 'conducting' the scene with my arms. Freddy laughs but no sound reaches my ears.
If Freddy laughs and I can't hear her because of the walkman, is there any sound? Some philosopher. I sit down next to her and Tangerine Dream stops. I check the walkman in time to see Freddy's hand moving back. She switched it off.
It's a different world without the music. I put aside the earphones and listen to the quiet of the afternoon with new awareness, my neurons panting with the effort of their dance.
"Egg salad OK?" she passes me a sandwich and pops open a Pepsi. "So how goes it?"
"Fine. It all seems to be working. Tide coming in, a few clouds gliding by, camera clicking every four minutes." This is going to go on all day and all night and all tomorrow. "What are you doing today?"
"Sewing." She mumbles around a mouthful of egg salad sandwich.
"When the tide comes in this afternoon how about coming back for awhile. I want to take some shots of the beach with the tide up and you with Zod afloat over there by the point. Wear something really colorful."
After we eat, I take some photographs of Freddy on the beach and then settle down next to her, put the walkman back on, push the play button and lean back to look up the skirts of the coconut trees.
This gives me an idea for doing a sequence about coconuts. Coconut Dance.
Freddy lifts off the earphone and I grab it to be sure she won't let it go hard again. "Don't mumble."
"You were mumbling about coconuts dancing." she laughs.
"Oh, right. The idea is to film all phases of coconut life and set the shots to the music. This will be in the second part of the film, the part when Man arrives on the scene."
"Coconuts doing the can can?" She is lying stomach down, her face close to mine, her blonde hair curled out into a halo backlit by the intense Fiji beach scene.
"There are lots of ideas here," I protest. "Coconuts are harbingers of Man. It's a very important plant giving lumber, shade, copra, leaves for roofs and baskets, sterile water to drink, and coconut meat to eat. Some islanders even make booze by carefully slicing the coconut flower before it opens and then putting a bag under it. The sugar juices drip into the bag. Every day somebody climbs up the tree and slices the flower again to keep the flow coming."
"And its so dreadful tasting they only make coconut wine in places where beer isn't available." Freddy adds.
"Anyway, if I could film an island out here before and after Man arrived, taking maybe one shot per year over several hundred years, the projected slides would show the coconut trees appear and spread outward from the centers of Man. Native forests falling and coconuts creeping everywhere.
"If I could take one shot of a baby coconut tree every two weeks for 12 years the projected images would show the tree growing to maturity. What a sight that would be. The crown shagging up into the sky leaving a stem-trail behind it. While I'm thinking impossible thoughts, I'd shoot the tree for 60 years to show the annual production of coconuts - about 200 a year - falling from the unfurling shaggy leaves like green/brown rain."
Freddy rolls over on her back and toys with her hair, "Funny how coconut trees follow Man's life cycle, sexually maturing in 12 to 13 years. Growing senile, making fewer nuts, at about 60 and dying at 70 or 80."
"I obviously can't photograph 60 years of coconut production, but I can take some time lapse of a single coconut sprouting, sending its little white rootlets into the soil and its little green shoot up into the air. And I can photograph various stages of the growth and decay of the coconut trees."
Freddy is industriously spreading coconut oil over herself. She hands me the bottle and I do her back as she lies flat on her tummy on the towel. Her skin is hot from the sun and the oil makes it incredibly sensuous. "How long before you want to go back out to Moira?" I ask, adding a little massage to the perfumed oil.
"Mmmmm" She means about an hour.
"Don't fall asleep, you'll cook. I'm going to wander around and take some coconut tree shots."
"mmmmMMMM" She means she won't fall asleep and will keep the camera camp guarded. As I walk down the beach I glance back. She is very pretty there on the towel. She looks like she's sound asleep.
"I'm not asleep," she says.
The flip side of the music tape is Tangerine Dream's Rubycon. It's there because Yves recorded it there for me. Turns out it's the perfect music for coconut trees to dance to. Well, more than that, it's the perfect music for the second half of This Magic Sea where Man appears. Force Majeure is the awakening - the quickening - of awareness on the planet. Rubycon is the awakening of Man. God's debut. In the film, this will be represented by the appearance of Man on the islands.
Last night I wondered what Rubycon meant. I got out my battered old dictionary and looked it up. Seems in 49 BC Caesar crossed the river Rubicon to march on Rome. His first fight was in Pompeii. Webster says we use the word to mean, "To start on a course of action from which there is no turning back." A nice touch, because the first step, the one which truly created mankind, was the invention of writing, and was indeed irreversible. Like Caesar's Rubycon, writing created the empire of Man. And to add a little panache to the story, Mount Vesuvius, in 79 AD, blew its top and encapsulated Pompeii in molten lava. Just as Man encapsulated Pompeii in the word Rubycon.
Done with the dead coconut tree, I turn to a small, live one as my next target. Rubycon helps my imagination see the coconut tree growing. I envision the heart unfurling new leaves, the leaves sucking sunlight, water and earth to solidify the dance of life in the long stem of hard dense wood reaching up into the blue tropical sky.
It would be great if I could capture the movement of coconut leaves. I take out my little reality scope. Its nest of lenses and mirrors kaleidoscope the fronds of a young coconut tree. The wind stirs them and the symmetrical images of the leaves is awesome. The field of triangular images, each a mirror reversal of the adjacent, creates another kind of moiré' pattern: different from the superimposition of Rubycon's rhythm on the rhythm of my perception and unlike moiré' patterns of curves and straight lines overlying each other to make a third image. It is more like the two fields of view of each eye creating the startling third dimension of perspective.
The kaleidoscope image shifts awareness into another perspective of motion. My little brass reality scope breaks up the visual field of preconceived notions and allows perception of deeper levels of meaning in the observed movement. The right-left tapestry of images interlock to form another motion dimension; not right, left, up, down, to or from but into and out of. A fourth dimension. And in this 4th dimension the coconut leaves seem to talk with the wind. I don't mean talk to the wind or talk in the wind. I really mean talk with the wind.
I beach-amble down to the edge of the water and kneel down, focus the reality scope on the small breaking waves. Sea discourses with land and air and I kneel there, lip reading what the three say through the reality scope. They talk in whispers of foam and sand and movements so delicate and complex their lips look like snowflakes forming.
I need a reality scoped picture of Sea where the script says, "We alter our field of perception, become new patterns of behavior." The image will show Sea flowing into itself where the kaleidoscope images intersect. Later, in the second half of the film where man enters the mix I'll repeat the sequence with coconut leaves. Showing how the pattern of behavior of the leaves alters so drastically with a shift in the observer's field of perception.
Freddy is packing up the left overs from lunch when I return to base. She wraps her body up in a blue silk pareo with hand painted dolphins on it. I walk her back to Zod. "Come back about 4 or 5, OK? I have to make a quick trip to photograph the coral tip growing and want to do some shots of you with the tide in."
"OK," she kisses me and hops into the inflatable. I pass her the basket and she motors slowly out into the Yachtus rookery, waving at people of other yachts as she goes.
Back at the foot of my tripod I open up the Log of the Moira and make some notes about the coconut dance, write down the time of day and number of the next film cartridge for the Olympus. It's about due for a change. Then I page through the scribbling of the past days rereading the odd melange of Magic Sea ideas I've recorded.
There is something I want to think about and now is the perfect time. Alone on the beach with the Olympus camera, plenty of time to think. It has to do with two patterns interacting to make something brand new and different. Like the moiré' patterns I've been perceiving today. It goes back to the central question, "Is Sea alive?" Although it's easy to give the question a flip answer - either yes or no depending on your perspective - dealing with it in formal logic is not so simple.
I look up. Sea is slowly, imperceptibly, creeping over the vast sand flats toward me. I'll go out there at low tide tonight and see what shells and things are creeping around in the moonlight.
I flip through some more pages in the log book. There are lots of comments about mind and perception and patterns interacting. Lots of repetition as if by saying it again and again I'll eventually get it straight. Here, On August 1st, Freddy's birthday.
"What we perceive is the difference between expected cyclic behavior and the true position of self. There is always an error, a divergence from the expected because all things move relative to each other and are never twice aligned exactly the same." I skim over the rest of the page which says the same thing in different terms.
"Evolution is the accumulation of anticipations of this error."
Here is a comment linked to today's subject. "As our perception-ability increases - as our age old memories accumulate - as we widen our perceptions by the interaction of many selves, we awaken. The universe resolves from a great nothingness where even photons could not align. Through the white hot discovery of selves, atoms form stars form stellar systems form ever expanding galaxies. A spectrum of behavior." I flop over onto my belly, propped up on my elbows, absorbed in the resolution of the universe via perception.
"But the resolution of cosmos shows no Man, no Mind, No Life, just as the radiation from sun shows no pink. Non-primary colors are the rainbow dance of Earth atoms with mind. Non-primary colors emerge from the flow of life through the matrix of star/planet behavior, the resolution of to be, to change, to have direction as they interact to learn new levels of awareness." There. Almost. I flip back a few pages. Here, look at this.
"The evolution of mind does not show a reversal of the law of entropy as I had supposed. It shows the entropic decline of the error of expectation." Is it OK to reverse thinking like that? Why not? Every law must apply to everything. If the law is actually a basic pattern of reality it must apply everywhere, to every instance of being. And the only exception to entropy is life. Entropy is the dissolution of patterns into chaos. Various workers have suggested life is negentropy. But why not have chaos dissolve into awareness? Why not indeed? Nature abhors a paradox.
Last July I wrote about paradoxes, "Mind and matter, spirit and form, one and many, destiny and free will, individual and community, community and ecosystem are all bipolar parts of a continuum of information flow. All of them are the difference between what is and what is expected. Between what is imagined and what is perceived. Between what is achieved and what is desired. Mind - formed by the interaction between polarities - focuses on the poles, never on the interaction. Never on itself.
"Mind cannot focus on the interaction creating the poles of being because it IS the interaction. This Magic Sea is invisible because it is visibility. It is imperceptible because it is perception. It is unmemorable because it is memory. This Magic Sea is unactionable because it is action." This is all the more effective read in time to Rubycon.
"The big bang was not a cosmic explosion or implosion. There is no In or Out to This Magic Sea. The Big Bang is the surprise of coming into focus: the interval when mind begins its never ending effort to resolve itself into more and more complex patterns of behavior. This resolution, created by reflection, in turn creates the direction in change of awareness. It snaps This Magic Sea into symmetry, right and left, real and imaginary, physics and metaphysics, substance and idea. Reality is mind learning to see itself and know itself for what it is. It is not an expanding or contracting cosmos at all, but one awakening.
"What we perceive as we peer into the outer fringes of the resolving universe with giant radar telescopes is not an older part of reality, but one less resolved, less organized."
"Nothing can - and does - move through This Magic Sea faster than the speed of light. The speed of light is the interval of awareness of the cosmos, the flicker fusion rate of electron formation/disintegration. But the definition of shape/form/structure by being/not being exists faster than the speed of light. The shape of the galaxy exists all at once, in every part of it, despite the millions of light years it takes for light to travel from one end of the behavior pattern to the other. It whirls together, defined as much by nothingness as by the boundaries of being."
"Damn!" I have 30 seconds to change the film. I snatch the film, leap up, race over to the Olympus, rewind the film, snap open the camera back and fumble in the new roll. I snap the back closed and advance the film three frames. The third click is activated by the intervalometer. Whew. Got to watch the time. I look through the viewfinder and note the center circle is still resting on the horizon, the edge still on the distant tree. Good. Another 144 minutes before I have to change again. I set the timer on my watch to go off in two hours and 15 minutes.
Freddy has left me a cold Pepsi wrapped in a towel. I take it out, pop the top, and wander off down the beach. A family off one of the yachts has come ashore and is looking at the beach. There is a man wearing cut-off jeans, a woman with long brown hair dressed in a one-piece striped bathing suit, a little boy about 8 and his sister who is maybe a year younger. I talk to the guy for a few minutes, pointing out the camera and telling him about filming the tide. I want to think some more about this pattern business and it is very distracting having other people about. There is something 'in' these stray ideas. A pattern of a pattern of very great relevance. Back to back with the question of the living Sea.
The little boy and girl from the yacht are screaming with an alternating mixture of delight and pain as they try to decide if they are playing or fighting on the beach. I put on the headphones of the walkman, crank up the volume, and walk away.
A coconut on the top edge of the beach is just poking a tiny green shoot through the sunbrown skin of its husk. I take a shot of it from the angle of Ruybon's second phase.
The music seems to be showing me ideas, 'The dream is not within the seed.' The seed is a memory bank responsive to a larger tapestry of behavior. The tree unfolding from the coconut is the reaction of the seed to those other outside events; the tree is as much the wind and tide, air and rain, as it is the memory of how to react.
I stand looking into the rows of coconut trees, their trunks rugged with a red fungus, leaves rustling in the wind a hundred feet above my head. The seed probably won't make it. The beach is eroding here and the place where the nut is attempting to root will wash away. It is not destined for this nut to live. Unless, of course... I pick it up and walk into the plantation looking for a proper place for a young coconut tree to grow up.
The end is not contained in the now. Sea might never carry the seed to land, or it might take the land away. Then the tree of the coconut dream never unfolds. Otherwise only one coconut per tree would be enough to maintain the species. We all don't make it.
As Rubycon steps me back to the beach a sea eagle soars overhead. It's shadow falls on me. I look up and it cocks its head and looks down at me, alerted by my sudden motion, the focus of my eyes. Our eyes meet in exactly the same moment of awareness, just as Rubycon pauses for a silent heart-beat. I perceive This Magic Sea so clearly it takes my breath away. The pause, the nothing, the absence of being wherein we resolve into To Be, To Change, To Have Direction by the interaction of awareness.
The shadow of the eagle brings back last night's dream. I dreamed about Pegasus. It was the second time this week. In my first dream, a host of a TV show told me, "My secret name is Pegasus." "Mine is Mercury," I shot back. Last night I dreamed a great herd of flying horses passed over me. One came very low, its shadow passed over me and I saw its powerful legs and hooves.
It all seemed very important so I looked up Pegasus in the dictionary to see what the dream might be about. Webster said, "A winged horse which sprang from the body of Medusa at her death. A stamp of his hoof caused Hippocrene, the fountain of the Muses, to issue from Mount Helicon; hence, poetic inspiration." The Muses are, in Greek mythology, any of 9 goddesses who preside over literature and the arts and sciences. They are the spirit regarded as inspiring a poet or other artist. Inspiration.
I decided the dreams meant my production of This Magic Sea must be aimed directly at inspiring unconscious mind.
There are patterns, harmonics, in the deeper parts of our brain; Jung's archetypes of behavior hidden within our cellular memory, nested down in the spiral roots of our DNA logic.
To the unconscious mind, the map IS the territory. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. There it is!
Korzybski was right, the map is not the territory. The word is not the thing described. When I think of a coconut tree there is no tree in my head. This seems an unassailable bit of reasoning. But only to one level of perspective. Virtually all of my perceptions take place inside my head. The image, the sound, the taste, the smell, the touch of Malololailai and its coconut plantation and its beach are all represented by a sensory model inside my brain. This model is not the same thing as what is around me. True?
Blast my brain with a bullet and this image will cease completely. For me at any rate. Is this proof of Korzybski's idea?
No. Because my killer would still be here, standing on the island, perceiving the coconut trees and beach and eagle and so on.
No. Because as far as my MIND is concerned the model is, indeed, an accurate REPRESENTATION of the world around me. It does not, can not, never did, exist without the world around me and to accept a logic system based on examining just the model inside my brain without reference to the world around me is just plain stupid.
I bound out onto the open beach, the Eagle circles above me, glancing down one more time and then, smiling, laughing, enjoying himself immensely, Eagle flexes its powerful wings and lifts up higher into the Sky, shifting its awareness out onto the rising edge of Sea.
In the clear, I walk rapidly north, my mind forming a glorious image of white sand, delicate patterns of mangrove tree roots, blue sky, clean sweet smelling sea air, cool breeze, greens and yellows and sparkles on the wavelets of Sea. Rubycon is the thunder of the stamping hooves of Pegasus in the Mind of Man frightening inspiration into view.
You can not alter the mind system through an assault on its conscious elements because the whole system is is the interconnecting flow of communications between both conscious and unconscious perceptions. Logic and compassion are both required for an understanding of This Magic Sea.
Com, meaning "together", and passion, "emotive desire". Genetic archetypes deep in the core of the brain govern passions. When they come together with logic, with numbers, they generate a moiré' pattern profound enough to elicit change.
Wisdom is the conscious act of allowing knowledge its fertility of non-absolutes.
Awareness is founded on the shore of nonabsolutes; the error of expectation in all that exists.
Knowledge is a tidal flow, circulating unhindered through he portals of perception, rising and falling to the push and pull of greater forces.
But, in the end, knowledge is created by the sideways, sliding movement of large quantities of information interacting with the solid land of concepts: the bays and points of awareness.
Moment by moment, frame by frame, This Magic Sea resolves itself as it becomes the great multitude of concepts of life. It is a story of becoming, of self awareness.
Hot Damn! That's great! The image works for the movie and reality. I love those two-level phrases. My mind goes into image mode again. I see the planet as a huge sphere of bacteria resolving itself into the great multitude of life forms, the kaleidoscoping, coming together, blending, of self-awareness into the vision of life that surrounds me.
Eagle circles by again, watching me watch it. The interplay of consciousness could be filmed. First, a wide view of Sea Eagle, high in sky, zoom in to slow motion telephoto of flying, come in on Eagle's eye then snap to my eye, zoom out to wide view of terrain below Eagle.
Consciousness is communication between creatures existing at the same interval of awareness.
Each one of us knows awareness at our own interval of change,
But we change together on many levels, at intervals too fast, too slow, for any one to know.
A population of Fiddler Crabs spreads out before me on a small mangrove mud flat. Their little burrows riddle the black mud. The males have an enormous bright yellow fiddle-claw. Each has his own territory marked out in the field of mud. I can't see the lines demarcating these territories. They are, to me, invisible. Beyond the horizons of my perception. But the crabs perceive those borders with great clarity and interest.
They signal to each other by hoisting up the big yellow claw and waving it vigorously up and down. Little yellow flags saying, "Here I Am" and "I'm a sexy male" or "I'm a dangerous male" depending on who perceives the wave. For other males the wave says "Piss off" for females the wave says, "Well hello there, sweetheart."
Two males decide they have to renegotiate the invisible boundary between their domains. They fight, circling each other, latching on with their big claws. A phrase emerges from the dance and the music:
I run all the way back up the beach and arrive at the camera with 30 seconds to spare, grab a new roll of film, rewind the old film, snap open the back, drop the film in the sand, scoop it up, blow off the sand grains, curse wildly, thread the film, snap the back closed, advance the film one frame and it goes click. Damn. I click another frame just to be sure, reset my watch, and make a note in the Log book.
I am panting from the long run and when I look up, the people off the yacht are all staring at me. I flop down on the towel and ignore them. Sometime or other they leave. The next thing I know Freddy is there and the tide is in, "Hungry?"
It's a bit late to go photograph the coral in the Bathtub so I decide to do it in the morning instead. I position Freddy out on the sandy point and wade out in the shallow water to take some shots of her as the sun paints the world a warm golden hue. This is the best time of day to take photographs. Everything is glorious. Freddy especially, her delightful curves are a golden tan against an azure sky and the green exclamation points of the coconut trees.
We eat dinner on the crest of the beach as Sea laps quietly at our feet. The tide is in and the sand flats are gone. It is a perfect sunset, with vibrant red clouds gradually deepening to a glowing ruby ember and a sky full of stars. Music from Plantation Resort belches across the lagoon like the satisfied report of some well fed guest. We look at each other, our eyes asking the same question, "Why is it tropical resort music is always so bad?" and laugh.
"You're going to get it," she growls with a threatening voice, coming up on her hands and knees like a leopard. She stalks me in the starlight and pounces. An armful of slippery silk and muscle lands on top of me and I am consumed.
Much later, reluctantly, Freddy returns to Moira for the night. She does not like leaving me alone all night. It is, in fact, the first time we have not slept together in years.
Actually, I've been looking forward to being here on the beach alone, all night long. "Alone at last," I announce to the night as I walk back to the camera site. Almost time for another film change. Moonlight from the full moon is making long shadows of the coconut trees on the beach. It's kind of fun, prowling about in the shadows with no light. I only turn on the small flashlight to check the camera before opening the back. I can do the rest of the film change easily in total blackness.