Where the sea begins

June 30, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I write these paragraphs high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Hana, in Maui. There are patches of blue sky and blue ocean below, but most of the sky is covered with a low overcast, and a few puffy cumulus clouds in the distance. The rain forest is behind me, climbing the lower slopes of Haleakala, but the view to the ocean is open, interrupted only by a few Norfolk Island Pines, some traveler palms, rainbow eucalyptus and other tropical trees that I can't recognize. In an earlier post I commented on how depressing I find the rain forest to be. Still true, but, somehow, the rain forest here in Maui has a redeeming quality that makes it perhaps more beautiful, and certainly more bearable, than almost anywhere else. This is the fact that it is a relatively narrow fringe on a huge volcano, and that I know that it is possible to escape the rain forest for the freedom and beauty of the desert by simply climbing a few kilometers up the volcano. The same is true of the rain forest in the island of Hawaii, and a few other large volcanic islands. So here I am, contentedly spending a few days on the edge of Maui's rain forest, which is but a transition between the Pacific Ocean and a huge volcanic summit.

As always, I began writing this blog entry with a topic in mind, and I have yet to start on that topic. I wanted to give some context to one of my galleries. If given the choice of migrating to an ocean planet (say, Frank Herbert's Caladan) or a desert planet (his Arrakis), I would not hesitate to choose the latter. But the ocean holds and indisputable attraction, which is quite possibly shared by all humans. I do not like the sea of midday, I do not care for an ocean under a bright cloudless sky. But a cover of turbulent clouds can transform an otherwise dull seascape into a scene that evokes places that may exist only in our imagination, yet are very real, extending away from us and into a distance that we cannot comprehend. I sit here watching one such scene on the North Shore of Maui. The horizon is a blurry blend of cloud and sea, of a luminosity that can only exist in tropical latitudes. It is not the forbidding horizon of subarctic latitudes, all too common along Iceland's spectacularly varied coastline. It is not the endless horizon of the Pacific Northwest coast. Nor the always luminous Mediterranean horizon that I have to come to know and love in the volcanic coastline of Almería, in the southeast of Spain. It is a horizon that I will be trying to document over the coming weeks. If I succeed (and I may not, as I prefer to set too difficult standards), then a new gallery will display some of my efforts. For now, I invite you to look at other portraits of The Clouds and the Sea. As always, I thank your for your visit and invite you to start a conversation.


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Photos, commentary and opinions by  Alberto Patiño Douce

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