We are not separate from anything, yet we are entirely unique to everything. Does that give us special compensation to do as we please when we please? Of course not. We may be an integral part of this system, but we know damn well (or should know, anyway) that it can get on just fine without us.
But, at our best, at our most hopeful, at our most joyous, we are a delightful and necessary addition to the radiance of the world. We are makers and creators, caretakers and admirers. We are the audience and the actors. Our delight in this world is what makes the bloom and the decay so heartrendingly beautiful and these brief lives so very poignant.
So go on with your sweet self--keep the heart open, the eyes open, and delight in every moment you can. That delight is as necessary to peace, as necessary to harmony as any laying down of arms and stepping back from the line.
I don't really worry about my own heart--if I get too clumsy, drop it, break it here and there, that's okay. It can mend. It's expendable. But I cannot stand to break the heart of this land around me. I cannot sleep for the old, tattered, whispered mourning that floats through my open windows. I cannot settle my stomach or my mind in meditation unless I thrust my hands into the earth, put my lips close to the earth and whisper, "I'm here. I've not forgotten. I promise."
Maybe it's the Aquarius in me (I know it's the Aquarius in me), but I can't be stirred to a cause piloted by some charismatic someone. There are people, leaders, both here and long gone, by whom I feel inspired, energized, but that's not enough to get me to pledge my money, much less my time.
But give me silence, give me the simple grace of a sunrise, an icy morning, a vicious rain, an isolating snowstorm. Give me the quiet view of the mountains, so cold, so unforgiving, it can cut you to the bone and steal your breath. That is the call to action I'll hear; that is the call to which I'll respond.
And don't catch on that and manipulate it, sending me the best and worst displays evidenced in this particular climate in this particular time. I live in this world, and I know it well. This is not your political speech, not your soapbox, not your propaganda. It is the blanket we pull over ourselves every night, the one we tuck in neatly every morning. It is the bed we long for...
I used to say I was an ocean girl, but I realized that brought to mind tan, blonde, California surfer girls (the badass, big wave girls). And while in my teenage years and my 20's, I desperately wanted to be that, I am not that.
What I am is a shore girl, a borderland girl. I love the wind and the salt and the dichotomy of incremental and immediate change that the shore evokes and displays. I'll go out on the water, show off my lousy sailing skills (in truth, I'm a better surfer than sailor, but I do row a mean scull), but I'm happiest in the salt and the wind and the sound that comes when there is no thought, only old, old blood and salt memory.
I am not a romantic person, but I have lived in romance most of my life. What I mean—I am not interested in music and flowers, Empire State Building meetings, guitars and campfires for two. Mostly, that kind of thing makes me too aware of myself and the fragile nature of relationship.
But I do have, really, the same fragile relationship to landscape. Or maybe it’s more solid, since the land has no interest in winning my affections; it could care less whether it won me or lost me. No, the wooing is entirely on my end—a constant calling and hanging up, anonymous gifts at the door, a longing for…what? A note slipped to me during third period saying, 'yes, yes, your blood is from the salt of these coast-stones and your feet belong in seagrass.'
The truth is, I’m a New Englander and have been all my life. The deeper truth is that I’m a Mainer and have been since before I lived here. I have lived here in my ancestors (literally) and in my spirit (figuratively) since I was old enough to see a p...
My grandmother always told me, and my mother after her, that the sea and salt water can heal anything. And that is, in my experience, absolutely 100% true all the time. It doesn't matter if it's the salt or the sun or the sand that scours away, weathers away this thing you've been dragging around, or if it's the primal, deep-cell memory stirred by the sweet sulfur of low tide. The sea has every answer to every question, asked or unasked, incoherent or carved into psychic, subconscious mantra.
The sea is a force, a catalyst, and driver of winds and weather, in perfect control of what,