Etched lines of specks of ice crystalize out of the blue sky on the other side of the airplane window, almost invisible Runic numbers. Below, low fog quarters into a grid array of cloud puffs, shattered and flowing away. Wisps and streams of clouds layered over the Sound, neighborhoods and towns and waterways darkening. The plane rises. White spaces. I wake as the plane descends over mountains behind Ventura—are those dirt tracks curling through oil jacks? Flatlands sectioned and divided, chopped up and fenced, acres of plastic-covered crops white and glinting, rectangles of variant green, ochre, dark brown. Lines of roads, filigree of gray freeways, infestations of tract housing. Shimmering ocean beyond.
The surface of the ocean shimmers like vast skin trembling below. Taut, shining, aglow, variegated with infrequent striations like stretch marks once in awhile that rivulet blue uniformity. Like rivers of currents flowing underneath or maybe over the surface, maybe it’s the wind. Maybe the variations of surface tension are not upwellings or flows, but vagaries of the sky leaning down at points on the vast bubble of shining water. Toward the horizon, in the distance the haze merges with clouds over islands, white obscurity broken by specificities, distinct contours of the gleam of eye or teeth. An island doglegs in a kinked sloping fold, perhaps another channel island beyond. The plane banks, the vast sweep of blue ocean, the Santa Monica mountains hunch and roll down into that sea.