Warrior's Way - On the Beach

In this excerpt from "On the Beach"—the final chapter of Warrior's Way— the author contemplates humanity's futile penchant to search for deeper meaning in existence when the fact of existence is miraculous in its own right.

| July/August 1979

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    Warrior's Way ends on the beach, with the author paddling out in a kayak of his own design to catch fish and contemplate the mysteries of existence.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A grey whale separated from its pod accompanied him for a short way.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Closer to Pinnacle Rock, the sea yielded an abundance of rockfish.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Reaching the shore in kayak when the surf is rising requires attention, patience, and good timing.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Excerpt from "On the Beach," the final chapter of Warrior's Way by Robert S. de Ropp (copyright © 1979). With permission from Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence.  


Waves.

They followed each other endlessly, swelled, broke, swept up the beach, vanished. I sat with my back against the rock wall, looking out to sea. The rock was a conglomerate. It told me its history. It had once been part of a beach, had then sunk deep into the earth, where the pebbles had been fused by heat and pressure. Then it was heaved aloft by enormous pressures and towered above me as a cliff. Now the ocean nibbled away at it, and it became a beach again.

Rocks, ocean, sky. The endless cycles. The sky was perfectly cloudless and the sea was calm. I would spend the night In my tent by the beach and go out in my kayak in the dawn light. Meanwhile, the planet rolled and the evening sun was swallowed by the sea. A flush of crimson filled the sky. A line of brown pelicans made their way to the rock on which they roosted. Above the place where the sun had vanished, the planet Venus emerged.



Waves, waves. As the darkness came there was only the voice of the sea, and a whispering wind from inland as air drained from the slopes and flowed gently along the canyon. It was a very warm wind. I could hardly believe that this was December. Not even a drop of rain had fallen all month. The creeks that should have been flowing were all dry. Another dry winter. Some new weather cycle was starting. A thought crossed my mind. If the climate really went bad on us, it could shake us out of the country like fleas out of a blanket. We might have to flee as the Okies fled from the dust bowl. The Okies fled to California. But where could the Californians go?

Perhaps, like lemmings, they would migrate in swarms to the coast and plunge into the sea. I could imagine the land breathing a sigh of relief.






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