A storm was coming in off the Pacific. The air was almost palpable, about to burst with rain. The wind had whipped up the ocean, and breakers were glowing far out from the beach. The world was conspiring around us. All things physical insisted we pay attention. The steady rush of the ocean. The damp sand, the tide pushing in to make us scuttle up from the advancing edge. The birds pecking for dinners on the uncovered sand. The smel of salt, of air that had traveled across the water all the way from Japan. The feel of continent's end, a gritty beach at the western edge of the city.