Russell Hoban's Turtle Diary is quite the perfect book for a quiet coastal escape. It's a meditation on loneliness, connection, action, futility; narrator William writes, "Monday morning I woke up early. A grey and dreary morning with no hope in it. Things would always be the way they were, it said. Why struggle." I walk near the waves, foaming and crashing, and the world seems made in blues and beige.
This prompts him to revisit T. S. Eliot's poem "East Coker," part of Four Quartets: "I thought of the dawn wind over the ocean. 'Out at sea the dawn wind/Wrinkles and slides,' said Eliot." It is easy to get lost in the early Pacific mist, dunes draped in indistinct haze. One sinks into Eliot's piece, which continues:
There is only the fight to recover
what has been lost
And found and lost again and
again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But
perhaps neither gain nor loss
For us, there is only the trying. The
rest is not our business.
In the vast splay of sand, a certain hopefulness arises -- even if, as Hoban's character reflects, "The things that matter don't necessarily make sense."