The Comforting Roar of Eternity

Sometimes, usually at night, when the tide comes in, I’ll be sitting here in my living room, windows open, watching the TV and wondering:

“What the hell is that roaring noise?”

Then I remember it’s the Pacific, just over the berm, clawing at the beach, just like it has been for 200 million years –long before any of my kind were around to hear it.

It puts me in my place, this ocean.

So I mute the TV and listen to the closest I’ll ever get to eternity whisper in my ear.

“You don’t matter.” It says. “You are nothing. This is all nothing. None of this means anything. I will be clawing at this beach 200 million years from now, long after your kind are gone.”

There are people I know who would consider this discouraging, or terrifying, or even a form of heresy or blasphemy. But for me? It is a comfort like a mother’s embrace.

“It has all been OK.” It says. “All you’ve worried about, and fretted over, and tortured yourself because of during long nights of doubt? It’s as insignificant as beach sand. It all gets washed away, eventually.”

And some part of me wishes that it weren’t true; that I’d somehow carved something indelible into the time or space that I have occupied –some proof that I’d mattered somehow. But I’ve seen enough of death to know that the ocean isn’t lying.

We fade within two generations, often sooner. We are sparks from a bonfire: beautiful, blazing, unique, and soon forgotten.

But the longer I live here next to this unimaginably ancient sea, I understand that it is OK. It’s OK to be a spark that is born, rises, touches nothing, and fades away. That is the cycle. That is life.

That’s the truth the Pacific knows.

And sometimes, when I mute my TV, it whispers it in my ear.

Published by

Brian E. Holbrook

A terminally ill writer and musician, Brian recently migrated from the north Oregon Coast back to eastern Washington State, where he is, in the immortal words of Townes Van Zandt, "waitin' 'round to die." In the interim, he occasionally writes observational and/or biographical essays about what, if anything, it all means.

3 thoughts on “The Comforting Roar of Eternity”

  1. But you have mattered and it’s a possibility that your music will live on more than 2 generations.
    One day in the far off future, one of your grandchildren or great grandchildren will find one of your albums/CDs in the corner of the attic, will download it to whatever type listening device they will have, and totally dig your music. Then tell their friends, dude you have to listen to this it’s my grandfather and it’s so cool. And your legacy will live on!

    Liked by 1 person

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