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Chapter 78
There were many skies. The sky was invaded by great whiteclouds, flat on the bottom but round and billowy on top. Thesky was completely cloudless, of a blue quite shattering to thesenses. The sky was a heavy, suffocating blanket of grey cloud,but without promise of rain. The sky was thinly overcast. Thesky was dappled with small, white, fleecy clouds. The sky wasstreaked with high, thin clouds that looked like a cotton ballstretched apart. The sky was a featureless milky haze. The skywas a density of dark and blustery rain clouds that passed bywithout delivering rain. The sky was painted with a smallnumber of flat clouds that looked like sandbars. The sky was amere block to allow a visual effect on the horizon: sunlightflooding the ocean, the vertical edges between light and shadowperfectly distinct. The sky was a distant black curtain of fallingrain. The sky was many clouds at many levels, some thick andopaque, others looking like smoke. The sky was black andspitting rain on my smiling face. The sky was nothing butfalling water, a ceaseless deluge that wrinkled and bloated myskin and froze me stiff.
There were many seas. The sea roared like a tiger. The seawhispered in your ear like a friend telling you secrets. The seaclinked like small change in a pocket. The sea thundered likeavalanches. The sea hissed like sandpaper working on wood.
The sea sounded like someone vomiting. The sea was deadsilent.
And in between the two, in between the sky and the sea,were all the winds.
And there were all the nights and all the moons.
To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the centreof a circle. However much things may appear to change – thesea may shift from whisper to rage, the sky might go fromfresh blue to blinding white to darkest black – the geometrynever changes. Your gaze is always a radius. The circumferenceis ever great. In fact, the circles multiply. To be a castaway isto be caught in a harrowing ballet of circles. You are at thecentre of one circle, while above you two opposing circles spinabout. The sun distresses you like a crowd, a noisy, invasivecrowd that makes you cup your ears, that makes you closeyour eyes, that makes you want to hide. The moon distressesyou by silently reminding you of your solitude; you open youreyes wide to escape your loneliness. When you look up, yousometimes wonder if at, the centre of a solar storm, if in themiddle of the Sea of Tranquillity, there isn't another one likeyou also looking up, also trapped by geometry, also strugglingwith fear, rage, madness, hopelessness, apathy.
Otherwise, to be a castaway is to be caught up in grim andexhausting opposites. When it is light, the openness of the seais blinding and frightening. When it is dark, the darkness isclaustrophobic. When it is day, you are hot............
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