This blog is a series of essays in the original Montaigne-sense of the word: attempts.
As I thought about how to describe the blog’s purpose, I remembered Whitman’s poem, “The Noiseless Patient Spider,” as describing what I hope to do:
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere.
But the image of the spider connecting things with webbing spun from its own body suggests a universe of stable objects to connect. I chose the name for the blog because littoral geography is a border that is itself ambiguous: it shifts with tide and wind and rain and evaporation. It is a zone rather than a line and within that zone the identities of land and water become as ambiguous as we are when we breathe in air that then becomes part of us and then we breathe part of ourselves out into the air. Moisture leaks out of our pores. We live in a haze of molecules that were us at one time. We are littoral and ambiguous.
I want to explore that shifting ground between us and our daily worlds, which we are shaping and are shaping us. Medieval science thought we were composed of earth, air, water, and fire; while that approach produced some misguided medicine, it suggests connections with our environment that help us see through the clutter of machines that suggest to us we are cyborgs.
An important component of my perspective is that I am growing old, and that approaching my late 60’s throws more of the moments of my day into high relief as I realize more clearly that they are finite. My inclination more often is to be more joyful as a result because I can see that life is about good moments and that good moments are most often a function of context, so the same events can be transformed from dark to bright.
Perhaps I am exploring the border between imagination and delusion, between clear-sightedness and cynicism. Perhaps I am just perhapsing.