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A Walk In

The Selvage Edge

Welcome Beach

 

OLD COUNTRY

 

Land that appears ancient, like it’s unaltered, like it’s the way it has always been and will be, is a vital link to who we are. It roots us individually, defines communities, characterizes regions.  No less than oxygen and water, it reminds us of Earth’s bounds.

 

Gaviota is old country that progress has relatively overlooked, that change has relatively missed. We locals enter such unfettered places with ease to connect with them without need of interpretation, without guidebooks or a trail map, without ownership or a pass, exploring home ground—and ourselves.

 

Like the mapmaker’s web of triangles and geometry drawn from benchmarks anchored in stone, certain steady landscapes like the Gaviota Coast help us chart the contours of our home and histories, and the topography up ahead.

THE SELVAGES

 

While my mom taught me to sew, I learned about cloth.

 

Some fabrics, right from the mill, have peculiar, attractive borders that run their entire length. These lengthwise edges are where the crosswise threads bind with themselves to create what’s called a selvage. The selvage is a reinforced, raw edge that is self-finished with no added hem or stitching holding it together. It is where the material’s crosswise grain is secured by being turned back into itself again and again. It is at once natural and finished. It is without need of further work. It is a self-edge. It is stable, original. It is organic, elegant in its simplicity, and will not unravel except where cut.

 

The Gaviota Coast is long and narrow like an unrolled bolt of fabric. Winding selvages or self-edges run its length; the shoreline is one, the highline of flanking mountains, the other. Gaviota’s crosswise threads could be thought of as all that we ask of the place and what we do to it—man’s endless needs woven into and between Gaviota’s edges.

 

These selvages are now so unlike when first completed. They are fraying, repeatedly cut. What remains is a patchwork of remnants of the extraordinary whole cloth Gavitoa once was.