Below is a spread from Wade Davis's extraordinary book The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2009). On Pearl Harbor day of last year, Davis gave an electrifying lecture at the University of Hawai‘i. For most of the seventy-five minutes that he spoke, I sat on the edge of my seat.
In this section of his book, Davis is describing Mau Piailug, "a master navigator from Satawal in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia…who grew up on a coral islet less than 1.5 square kilometres, a third the size of Central Park in New York. His universe was the ocean."
The paragraph beginning "Beyond sun and stars is the ocean itself" has particular meaning in terms of the panel we have proposed for next year's AWP meeting (for details, see the "Writers of the Wave" post and the Talks page). Heretofore, we have been talking about the wave as something we ride upon but not as something we exist within. If our panel proposal is approved by the AWP selection committee, I would like to read this paragraph from Davis's book and talk about composing from within the wave and trying to interpret long "pulses" that travel to us from distant places.