Appearing in tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times will be a short essay by Verlyn Klinkenborg, American non-fiction author and a member of the editorial board of The New York Times. He uses the ebb and flow of the Tomales Bay tides and local wildlife to help writers and the rest of us to break free of a strict linear chronology.
The water is constantly catching me by surprise. I look, and there’s a bright, wind-tugged sheet of it from here to Inverness. I look again, and the light adheres strictly to the creek channel, eeling its way across the darkness… I consult a tide chart and note that the tide is ebbing, but I’m not experienced enough to feel it. The best I can do is see where the water is now, and then where it is an hour from now. It’s like having to look repeatedly at the sun to guess its direction across the sky.
I always tell my writing students to avoid chronology, because we live utterly in the thick of it. We need no reminding how it works. But that’s what I love about watching these flats. They undermine my landlocked sense of chronology.
You can read the whole essay here…