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The Waves of Inis Meain

A dreamer for surf, I always imagined my life would follow the tides and know the nooks and crannies of some little seen coastline like the back of my hand, but I never lived on the salt water, at least not for long enough to get used to the patterns of the sea. All the pot-smoking clichés about surf though, I think, are as real as can be, and though I don’t do it well, I can stand up on a board in the green part of a wave and love it.

The cliché that grabs me the most from surf culture is about waves, that this wave came rolling out from some little wind deep in the ocean and to catch it at just the right time and ride it in to its end on this beach is a bit of alchemy. What a wonderful thought! Then I spent a night on the Aran Islands out in the wild North Atlantic way, where Galway Bay opens its mouth up to the wide world. I walked Inis Meain twice, once clockwise and once counter, a three-hour walk that takes you from the lived-in section of the small island, where soil is created by humans with two ingredients, time and seaweed.  There is no natural soil here, just rock, and on the back side of the island the rock juts up from the water in straight lines, like a slice of cake appearing to take a stand against the wind and rain and waves of the ocean. I didn’t realize on the first walk what was going to happen to me – I came out here to visit a hotel and see if it was up to par with what I was hoping (it was, and the place is called Inis Meain Restaurants and suites). The island is stark, and I knew it would be that, but as I came up on a rise in the land there was a sheer drop off to the Atlantic below by about 200 feet, and the waves were crashing into the island, and I thought then about them waves, and thought how when the hydrogen atoms merged in that sun of ours, exploding, that the heat and energy moved across the ether landing in our atmosphere and then created wind, then the waves, and when they crashed up on this island, that feeling that I have of power and fear in a place like this, is not psychological, those waves must go somewhere and I am convinced they are here on this island somewhere hanging about.

That is what you feel on the coast and on the cliffs. Part of traveling, part of stepping one foot in front of the other and taking a gander at the world around us, is feeling these different places, not just looking and hearing and using our senses, there is some sixth sense that picks up these special places where the waves seem to converge. You can feel it in Machu Picchu, you can feel it in a Dylan song, in New York on a Friday night, on top of Mont Blanc, you can feel it on the edge of Inis Meain before a storm.

Tyler may not surf much… but does he smoke pot? We have no idea. He knows how to feel, and that’s what matters to us. Contact him here in the earthly realm to discuss travel, inward, outward and inter-galactic.

The island is stark, and I knew it would be that, but as I came up on a rise in the land there was a sheer drop off to the Atlantic below by about 200 feet

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