The edge of the world is here. It’s wherever the land meets the sea and your eyes meet the stars. There is nothing but the unrestrained power of the ocean and the universe.
For the first time on this trip I am alone but I’m not lonely. By that I don’t mean I constantly feel lonely just that at those times – meals, evenings, bedtimes – when there was the possibility of loneliness, I felt it. But not tonight. Huge waves crashed on the concrete breakers and then fumbled into the shore and as I lay on the narrow sea wall the sun disappeared over China and the stars filled my vision.
Imagine a water particle. Imagine it has free will and a full set of emotions. It can go anywhere; a cloud, a mountain stream, a duck pond, a toilet, the Mariana Trench. Wherever it decides to go it has to work with and fight against all the forces of the water cycle. When it gets to where it wanted to be it will feel joy, happiness, success and a sense accomplishment. Now imagine that the water particle has the same emotions but no way to fight or control the elements that decide where it will go. It might feel excitement when it crashes onto a beach or it might not like it very much, but either way it did it. People are like the first water particle but so many act like the second. The emotions are obvious and real but the forces of nature that move us and that are there for us to harness or resist are not as obvious.
As I listened to the billions of water particles crashing on the concrete and looked at the billions of stars expanding above me I thought about the billions of people who aren’t even aware of their freedom. Japan is a stark portrait of that fact.
Here’s a picture of me looking cool: