Many years ago I did an image of Coast Guard Beach in the summer with bathers and deep blue, ominous, sea. Ominous even though a sunny summer day. Ominous with the watchful lifeguards up on their stand, keeping everyone safe.
I got into a discussion with a friend about how liminal is the shore, the threshold between land and sea, the borderline between two phases of life’s existence on earth.
And, for humans, who have surrendered their sea mammal identity to the dolphins and whales, a downright dangerous place. Those lifeguards are there to keep us from drowning in the water we once breathed.
We are curiously naive about those dangers. The little children who dash to the waters edge and then scramble away as the waves threaten are the wise ones. They have a primal memory of the dangers.
So finally a shark has killed a surfer. I mourn him and place only collective blame. What are we thinking? Would we run naked through the Serengeti assuming that the lions are only hunting buffalo? I don’t think so.
We have rediscovered something about our limits and the experience, as it often is, has been horrifying.