I got back from Provincetown, MA on Monday night, and since then the regular workday world has succeeded in pulling me back into its orbit. But I can still summon images of the whale watch, of the huge dark bodies suddenly there, right next to the boat, and how frail the boat suddenly appeared, and how vast the ocean. It was not my element, it was theirs, and so was the sky. As the captain turned us back to the direction of land (I had no idea what direction that might be) I heard someone next to me shout for joy, and saw, where he pointed, a whale leaping clear of the water, that rising, and the white spray of return. And then another whale, also leaping up and out. That stupendous and distant delight.
I have been hardly able to do anything else since but re-read Mark Doty's moving and intense memoir, Heaven's Coast. I picked it up again because I knew Doty described the landscape and feel of Provincetown so aptly. I had forgotten how darkly joyful and full of grief the book is. It's a memoir of Doty's partnership with his lover Wally, and an account of Wally's death, and an account of living with and through grief, and sorrow. It's the kind of book that makes me want to try and love this world as much as I possibly can.