This piece is a brief excerpt from Brian Doyle‘s book “The Plover“.  Doyle offers the reader a description of the neverending ebb and flow of life in the Pacific Ocean and human hunger for a ‘story’.

Featured image: Big Island, Hawaii via Unsplash

Consider, for a moment, the Pacific Ocean not as a vast waterway, not as a capacious basin for liquid salinity and the uncountable beings therein, nor as a scatter of islands still to this day delightfully not fully and accurately counted, but as a country in and of itself, dressed in bluer clothes than the other illusory entities we call countries, that word being mere epithet and label at best, and occasion and excuse for murder at worst; rather consider the Pacific a tidal continent, some ten thousand miles long and ten thousand miles wide, bordered by ice at its head and feet, by streaming Peru and Palau at its waist; on this continent are the deepest caves, the highest mountains, the loneliest prospects, the emptiest aspects, the densest populations, the most unmarked graves, the least imprint of the greedy primary ape; in this continent are dissolved beings beyond count, their shells and ships and fins and grins; so that the continent, ever in motion, drinks the dead as it sprouts new life; the intimacy of this closer and blunt and naked in Pacifica than anywhere else, by volume; volume being an apt and suitable word to apply to that which is finally neither ocean nor continent but story always in flow, narrative that never pauses, endless ebb and flow, wax and wane, a book with no beginning and no end; from it emerged the first fundament and unto it shall return the shatter of the world that was, the stretch between a page or two of the unimaginable story; but while we are on this page we set forth on journeys, on it and in it, steering by the stars, hoping for something we cannot explain; for thousands of years we said gold and food and land and power and freedom and knowledge and none of those were true even as all were true, as shallow waters; we sail on it and in it because we are starving for story, our greatest hunger, our greatest terror; and we love most what we must have but can never have; and so on we go, west and then west.

You can find and/or buy a copy of the book “The Plover” here:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *