Here we must deal with awe, fascination, and terror, with ignorance shot through with the lightning of certainty, and with feelings of exuberance, love and bliss. — Francis Huxley
I’ve always resisted returning to the same place twice, no matter how grand the landscape or transcendent the experience. The second time could never be as deeply felt, I thought. Why risk disappointment? What hogwash, I realize so many years later—such a wasteful, arbitrary restriction!
Revisiting Tongaporutu cured me. This beach, as any natural landscape might, will always freshen with epiphanies, no matter how many visits. Like a place of worship. I’ve not stopped thinking about this place since we first visited four months ago.
We walked alone in silence. Kenton veered toward the water. I hunkered among the cliffs, drifting in and out of reverie, as I studied the rock faces. I was half-crazed by the colors and patterns, the bulging crevices bursting with life, new birth dripping in the tide’s wake.
Everything, yet nothing in particular, explains why I needed to return to Tongaroputu. I know only that I’ve never, ever, been so exhilarated by a landscape before.
That’s the trouble with this kind of profound beauty. Every glance reveals new possibilities for enchantment. Every surface begs for a close encounter to focus on delicacies of detail. Which is why I have a gazillion photographs.
It was at Tongaporutu that I realized that taking pictures enlivens my consciousness in some fundamental way. I seem to be storing memories as a collage of moments—intimate, intense, invigorating moments of perception.
By the time we left, I’d taken over 600 photographs. My head throbbed. I was dehydrated. I was anxious to go home … to see what grabbed my fevered retina and grey matter that day.
No surprises. Except I notice so many images focus on the pairing of sand and stone, specifically the undulating line on the beach where they curl into the weighty limbs of each other, sharing a destiny with the sea.