Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Island

Reality bites.


Not that I’m not glad to see D., my kids, my dogs and the myriad other denizens of my chaotic existence.

But damn it was nice to escape reality for a few days.

To go with the rhythm of the moment and recapture, momentarily, the euphoria of time unfolding unconstrained by duty and demand, unfettered by “musts” and “shoulds”, without tethers of needs and wants and instead, embracing and infinite in its endless possibilities.

My week was in its own way, chaotic and quirky, with a endless litany of unforeseen potential disasters from the large ferry to the island breaking down to the Minister booked to marry the couple taking an unexpected stay of some duration in the hospital and a dreary, never-ending forecast of rain. But somehow I found it easy and comfortable to roll with the punches, change with the moment – to in essence, embrace what I have been trying to internalize for several years now – to let go of what I cannot control.

For ultimately, I believe doing so is one of the penultimate lessons of life. Life, everyone’s life, is full of unexpected stresses, mundane irritations, almost overwhelming blows –emotional, physical and psychological – that each of us must confront, comprehend and cope with. I believe that in order to find the strength to deal with life’s black side, you must understand that you cannot, CANNOT be responsible for nor control the extent, intensity and future of some untenable situation. All we can do is choose how we react, the course we choose to take, the manner in which we “deal” ....

There is a wonderful freedom in doing so.

Though god knows it is not easy and is indeed, an ongoing battle. Especially for me who tends to be somewhat of a control freak, always trying to anticipate and foretell what needs to be done, what needs must be met, to indeed, get things done before the ones I care about realize they need doing! In some respects, that can be a positive personality quick, given that it is balanced with rationality and realism; however, I know that there have been times in my life where I’ve allowed it to overwhelm and drown me in the cacophony of “wants” that I feel cascade into my hands, whether sought or not.

Most of all, however, was I had a chance to commune with my beloved sea. From the moment we stepped on the ferry in Black’s Harbour and turned to the ocean, I felt my mind tremble, then sigh and capitulate to a tremendous, joyous peace that suffixed my body with a rightness of place that brought tears to my eyes as I stood at the railing and watched the waves flow beneath and the sharp, cool tang of the ocean licked colour into my city-pale cheeks.

I didn’t get a chance to actually walk the beach until the second day, then as the wedding guests mingled and caught up on the field behind the motel, bbqs smoking, voices laughing, children playing, I quietly slipped away.

The beach was rough, strewn with clam shells and stones, washed rocks sparkling in the sunlight which spilled from an endless sky and lent a golden glow to the grey sighing waves crashing up on the shore. Seaweed curled amongst the detritus of the ocean bottom and I stepped carefully to avoid slipping. Stopping, I pulled a strand of its stringy, soft length and pulling it to my face, breathed deep its sharp, evocative scent, pulling into my soul the essence of the ocean’s heart.

Leaving my shoes and socks on the deserted beach, rolling my pants up to my thighs, I stepped into the soughing surf, gasping as the crisp, heart-rending cold of the ocean shocked me into the reality of now. Stepping carefully, the soles of my feet no longer calloused and accustomed to the rock-strewn shoreline, I walked through the lisping, sighing sea and gazed out on the endless horizon of sky.

As I walked along the shoreline through the brine, the sounds of civilization slowly softened, then disappeared until my eyes shone blue and grey and green like the waves of my ocean and the whispering surf filled my ears and heart and all that existed was the slow, measured beating of my heart which marched in cadence with the sighing waves sweeping in and out along the island’s flesh.

I yearned to slip into the embrace of the soft water which caressed my thighs and breathed promise into my flesh. I wanted to feel the silk of its reality around my body and feel the ocean stroke cool fingers through my hair and had the day been more advanced, and the sun flaming into the distant horizon, lower, I would have stripped and followed my heart.

But coward that I was, I sighed and turned back, wincing a bit as I clambered over boulders torn from the yawning cliffs above me.

On my return, I discovered I had been away for more than a n hour and a half and was laughed at for my pants which were soaked to the thighs.

While I would have loved longer, I am grateful for the brief respite and the chance to replenish the sound and smell and feel of my home. I clutch to me the memories of its healing and the promise I made as I leaned over the fog-strewn railing of the ferry, the mournful wail of the foghorn rending the darkness and bringing to mind mammoth creatures of the deep, the promise that I would return one day for good.


Gillette said...

Welcome back, M' glad to hear the peace in your "voice." Sounds like it was a mightily healing trip. The ocean, she does that for us.

littleone said...

Is there more to come??? You said you would swim in the ocean.. and i want to know if you actually did.. the icy cold Atlantic... brrrr...

i envy you for getting to visit the ocean you know... cause like you i miss it terribly...

morningstar (owned by Warren)

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your beautiful words. Your love for the is much like my love the tallgrass prairie. I'm happy I live near my heart but even then reality bites when I'm unable to pursue it fully. -TG

vanimp said...

Serenity, a sense of belonging and the land calling you back. Refreshing isn't it? *smile* I love the sea.

Val said...

I ordered shortie-wetsuits for us for our 2-summers-ago trip to Cornwall... (could still only stay in the water for 10 - 15 min at a time!)
& of course I can relate to the tremendous let-down, coming back to Real Life after a long-awaited vacation...