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One Ferry at a Time

The most difficult course I ever taught was English 101, recognized by many names and course  numbers as Freshman Composition. At my college, it was a transfer-level course in which the main goal was to take students’ mastery beyond the short personal-opinion essay into the realm of the research-based writing that would be required when they made the transition to four-year institutions.  

Their expressions ranged from disbelief to terror when I told them that they would be writing an 8-10 page paper, properly formatted, with sources properly cited, on a subject they had researched over the course of the semester.  “Oh, hell no,” I could see many of them thinking.  Ten pages???? But you know what?  They did it.  And later, when I would run into them here and there in town, they would comment on how proud and confident it had made them to know that when they handed in their first paper at university they had done it right.

So how do Freshman Comp instructors get them there?  One small step at a time.  I used to tell them that we can always perceive a problem in a way that makes it too big to take on.  We can also break it down into little, solvable ones.  Can they research their whole topic?  Way too scary, but they can research a tiny piece of it, maybe just the answer to one little question they have about it.

Can they write ten pages?  That’s practically a book to some of them. But can they write one paragraph on some part of their subject they are confident they understand? Easy. Then can they write another?  Everyone writes that way—one word, sentence, paragraph, page at a time. The difference as we mature as writers is partly stronger skills but the biggest change is in our confidence that we can handle any writing task put to us. We get to that level of confidence one accomplishment at a time.

This morning I waited for my ferry from Hvar to Split, Croatia next to this sculpture of a contemplative young girl. Maybe she made me a little contemplative too, as I started writing this post on the ferry an hour or so later.

It’s a long way in space and time from here to those Freshman Comp classes I taught, but I realized the process and the lesson are the same.  When I decided to travel on my own for seven weeks, using only public transportation, in places I hadn’t been, where they speak languages I don’t  understand, I’ll admit I was intimidated.  The whole idea of being confronted with an unfamiliar train station or a bus depot or a ferry port, hauling a suitcase that, despite my success in whittling down to one medium sized bag, is still heavy and cumbersome—well, it kind of freaked me out.

And here’s where my past teaching experience came back to help me with a lesson I  had once taught  to others.  I don’t  have to think about everything I will have to do on this journey.  Today, I just had to get on this ferry.  Then when I get to port, I have to find a cab that will take me to my hotel.  Over and done for a few days.  Then I can do something similar when I travel to the next place, and the next. I’ve seen a few spots on my itinerary where I have made it harder on myself than I needed to, so I changed the plan.  I’ve added, subtracted, tweaked, and thoroughly revised at least a dozen times to make this trip something to rejoice in every step of the way. 

 I can do this. And here’s more proof: I am posting this from my bed in my hotel in Split. I did today without a hitch. I will do tomorrow and the next day too. Call me Travelwoman!

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Nesters and Perchers

There are lefties and righties, innies and outies, conservatives and liberals, introverts and extroverts—all sorts of ways we seem to divide into either/or.  Sure, it’s not totally true—we are all unique amalgams—but nevertheless it seems there are ways we naturally divide.

I’ve noticed one of these divisions between what I call nesters and perchers.  Nesters are those who thrive by creating a comfort zone they either are in or know they are returning to. Their home is a place that reflects who they are and where they have been, and makes them feel centered and most comfortably themselves.  They often put a lot of time, energy, and money into improving their nest, and once settled in, they tend to stay for a long time.

Then there are perchers.  Perchers get antsy in one place. They thrive on change and the stimulation of new environments.  They believe they may be missing something if they stick around one place too long.  They invest less in where they live because it’s little more than a necessity and convenience. Perchers are pretty much okay wherever they are.  That is, until they aren’t anymore. Then they go someplace else.

My guess is if there were a graph with Extreme Percher and Extreme Nester at opposite ends, most people would be able to point to where they fall on the continuum.  Some perchers might even have a place that’s very much  like a nest, but feel rather non-committal about it. Some nesters enjoy travel or other time away, but it is very important to them that home is waiting for them. My guess is few would place themselves at either extreme.

Where we are changes over the course of our lives as well.  Maybe we lose our nest, and realize we don’t really need another.  Or maybe the opposite—a vagabond who says “ Enough. I’m sticking around.”  Maybe what makes us happy, what makes us authentic, should be in flux as we move through life.

I think I have always been a percher.  Even in the years when I was raising my children, I never felt anything about the house we lived in.  When I was in a new place I always wondered what it would be like to live there. I often fantasized about other cities and countries I might live in. (I still do.) I had a house in the San Bernardino mountains that I did indeed care deeply about, but when it became impractical and I decided to sell, I was surprised at how easy it was to leave it behind.

I am writing about this today because this  travel experience has clarified something about perching.  Picture a bird on a twig.  It knows it is just there for a second.  It is waiting for what’s next. I feel that way every day.  I love living in the present, but I am excited about the opportunity for something different tomorrow. My center of gravity is constantly shifting just as that little bird’s is. There are only two states of being for me—balancing on the twig or flight to what’s next. Together they are my comfort zone.

I loved this Victor Hugo poem as a child. I guess I was a percher even then.

Be like the bird, who 

Halting in his flight 

On limb too slight 

Feels it give way beneath him, 

Yet sings 

Knowing he has wings.

A place to perch and wings. That’s all I need. At least for now.  But isn’t now what perching’s all about?

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Good Morning, Barcelona!

I am sitting in bed in my Barcelona hotel, at the crack of dawn, having arrived last night.  As usual, my first night’s sleep was fas shorter than it needed to be, but no worse than any restless night.  One of the things about traveling a lot is that I just let jet lag be what it is going to be and last as long as it’s going to last.  Sorry, body—I’ve done it to you again. Just go with the flow and we’ll be fine.

That’s easier to do now that my approach to travel has been revolutionized.  Now that I don’t have any fixed expenses for housing, I can choose to be wherever I want to be. I could still be in Victoria, but I was ready for something new.  I have no agenda here, no need to make the most of limited vacation time and money. In fact, I suspect i may even hang out in the hotel a fair amount.  I’m not racing around to see, buy, or eat this or that (although pinchos and wine are calling to me already). 

I’m in Barcelona because I will be embarking from here on Seabourn Ovation in October, and my hotel has graciously agreed to keep my cruise suitcase for me for seven weeks so I can travel until then with only one smaller bag..  Seven weeks! Free! Now that is hospitality! 

 I decided to stay in Barcelona for three days before going to Montenegro, my first real destination, because I always worry about my luggage arriving when I do. It’s a habit I got in with the cruising, because if your bags don’t come to the ship when you do, well, you’ll get pretty tired of wearing whatever you traveled in until you arrive at the next port with an airport. It’s a experience I hope I never have. 

Observations come hot and heavy when I am in a new environment, and one of my first ones this time is that I really like hotels. It is so cool that a room is clean without any effort on my part, that the towels are fluffy and white, and that everything for coffee is sitting there waiting for me. Need anything? Someone brings it.  What’s not to like, except the occasional incomprehensible shower?

But my biggest surprise is really the main reason I am writing this morning. I tend to be so involved with whatever i am doing, or planning the next thing, that I have little time for nostalgia. I was surprised, therefore, at the wave of emotion I felt about leaving Victoria. By the time I left San Diego last year I was so ready for change that I barely gave the city I had lived in for over fifty years a thought.  

As I looked out the window of the bus taking me from Victoria to Vancouver, I passed Elk/Beaver Lake, one of my favorite places for a long, peaceful amble.  It is still green with summer, and I thought how much I will miss seeing it this fall, and how when I return in February, the bare trees will give it a different kind of beauty I also love. I was struck by how unusual it was for me to react so strongly about how much I would miss something and how much I look forward to coming back.

Could it be that I really have found a place I want to call home? And what does that mean to someone like me, who equates being home with just being authentically myself?  Does this mean I am in the first stages of another sea change, in which I get tired of being a vagabond and  put down some new roots? I have no idea. That’s the best part about being open to anything. I can just wait and see.

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Trippin’

I am a hopeless word nerd. Maybe I my brain was subconsciously tracking the fact that I am about to uproot myself and resume the vagabond life I had before Covid, but I found myself thinking about all the words we have for going off to see the world.

Where did the word “trip” come from, I wondered. Here’s what I found out from my best friends Merriam and Webster:

From Middle English trippen (“tread or step lightly and nimbly, skip, dance”), perhaps from Old French triper (“to hop or dance around, strike with the feet”), from a Frankish source; or alternatively from Middle Dutch trippen(“to skip, trip, hop, stamp, trample”) (> Modern Dutch trippelen (“to toddle, patter, trip”)). Akin to Middle Low German trippen ( > Danish trippe (“to trip”), Swedish trippa (“to mince, trip”)), West Frisian tripje (“to toddle, trip”), German trippeln (“to scurry”), Old English treppan (“to trample, tread”). Related also to traptramp.

Okay. Sort of.

Somehow when I think of the word “trip,” I am more likely picturing myself sprawled on a sidewalk than “stepping lightly and nimbly,” “trampling,” or “toddling.”

And then there is the way I have used it since my rather checkered college days, when a trip involved hallucinogens, and then later evolved into a term used for anybody who seemed out of touch with reality. They were, well, trippin’, and never with a final “g.” And anything out of the ordinary, unbelievable, or even mildly interesting was “a trip.” A trip to where? Nowhere except those fun spins the mind takes us on.

And how about the use of the word for the annoying experience of being tripped up by something. I guess that’s the closest we get to the original meanings of the word. We refer to these situations sometimes as stumbling blocks, which is a vivid, although a bit redundant, image for anything that gets in our way.

And then there’s the most a propos usage today for me. I am going on a trip. A long enough one that maybe another word is better. This is not a trip to the store or the dry cleaners. This is a travel challenge, a reawakening, and so much more.

Something else springs to mind. Trip the light fantastic. Dancing with a big grin. Unable to keep the dance out of my step. That’s about right. See you later, average, normal, typical. I’m light, and headed for fantastic. Me and Mamie O’Rourke.

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The Cruise Not Taken

I have had an interesting couple of days. I was all set for my travels beginning in ten days, when I got an email from Viking asking me to fill in for a cancelation, two weeks going from Venice to Istanbul in early October. They’ve been interested since before Covid in having me lecture for their line, and indeed my first assignment was cancelled when the industry shut down in 2020. Since a number of places new to me were on the itinerary, I said yes, then began scrambling to redo all my travel plans, dust off and rework eight lectures I haven’t given for several years, and complete the paperwork for the assignment, all in ten days.

The pressure to add this to all the other prep associated with going away for an extended period was stressing me out, but I knew I could do it. My interchanges with Viking over whether one of their Covid-related rules for speaker travel could be waived since I couldn’t meet it, and how the financial impact to me of changed plans would be addressed, led them to understand that this was not a simple matter of flying me from home to the ship and back. They were more than willing to accommodate me, but in the midst of all that I got another email asking if I really wanted the assignment or would prefer to do something different at a later date that I (and they) would have more time and less hassle to prepare for. They said if I wanted to back out, they had another speaker who could step in.

For maybe five minutes I considered saying that I indeed wanted the assignment, but that little voice that helps me make the right decisions began whispering and I decided to back out. I am feeling such a flood of relief right now, but of course I have flickers of regret that I won’t have the experiences the assignment would have provided. No Istanbul, no Troy, not yet.

I will have other experiences instead, though, and I am soooo ready to begin the adventure. I am all set for travel in Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia, plus the northernmost points in Italy that despite the times I lived in northern Italy in the past, I have yet to see. A week in the Dolomites, plus visits to Bergamo and Locarno—all things I would have given up for this assignment.

This was already the biggest stretch of my life travel-wise (7 weeks on land, solo, one small suitcase, using public transportation almost exclusively). Funny how adding an assignment on a cruise line I haven’t worked with before, solo on a ship bigger than I’m used to, seemed more daunting to me than figuring out how to get a bus from point A to point B in a country where I don’t speak the language. Still, psychologically, that’s the way it felt.

Maybe it’s the greater opportunity for growth that that little voice is guiding me toward, some insight or experience I would have missed. The only way to find out is to go and discover what awaits.

For now, I have deleted all the things I needed to do that got added to my calendar. Today will be a normal day—a walk, a “swim and gym,” and a few little errands. No crazy. I like that.

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Not a Contest but a Doorway

I ran across this wonderful poem today. Mary Oliver left a few months back to see what lies beyond life in this world but she has left me s wth so much wisdom and beauty in her writing.

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot,
or a few small stones; just
pay attention, and then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate; this isn’t
a contest, but the doorway

into thanks and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

–Mary Oliver

It’s a mixed bag having a blog. It makes me feel obligated to have something to say, and often I don’t. And then again, when I ask myself “don’t you have something to say about all this?” often I discover that I do. This poem reminds me that I am not entered into some significance contest with myself. I have nothing to try to top, no reason to judge whether my insights or experiences are worthy of words, no need to set a mental timer on how long it has been since I last wrote.

Mary Oliver thinks of her poems as prayers. Maybe that is the special nature of poetry, but even words far more prosaic, like mine here, are also doorways to gratitude. They take me to unintended places, they burnish rough thoughts, they tell me to pause for a moment before moving on. The thoughts I write down become smarter than I think I am. I thank my blog for that, and for the inner voice that it nurtures and challenges to speak.

It is significant to me that I ran across this poem today, on the first anniversary of the day I left San Diego to relocate to Canada. I had a conscious goal of reinvention, and I wanted my blog to reflect that. I have gone back through my entries for this year and I am overwhelmed by the words I did indeed find for the myriad kinds of growth I was undertaking. And here I am, ready to move on to the flurry of travel that will be my next adventure, but right now, I want to sit here and think about the fallen leaves underfoot, the snowflakes, the waterfalls, the sunrises and sunsets, the living water and all the other things that have been part of my growth and sustenance this year. I offer up my gratitude, which indeed is beyond words.

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Only Have Real Problems

I dont know why, but I hate getting wet. I dont mind being wet; I just hate the experience of getting there Sure, I’ll wade ankle deep on a beach, or dangle my hand from the side of a sailboat, but immersion is something I avoid, and do not—I repeat NOT!—splash me, squirt me, or even drizzle me just because you think its fun. I may politely pretend I’m okay, but secretly I want to strangle you.

I have often wondered if I may have had a near-drowning incident that I was too young to remember, or—when I let my thoughts go this direction—whether something awful involving water happened to me in a past life. All I know is that most of my life—in Southern California, no less!—I have had to overcome reluctance to get into a pool (even a jacuzzi), or dash into the surf.

The weirdest part is that I even feel this way about taking showers. I work up a full sweat exercising and a few hours later I am still in my gym clothes. Then, even when the shower is nice and warm, I enter with a bit of a grimace. Then I am fine and enjoy the loveliness of it as much as anyone else. I have lived alone for most of Covid, and—-well maybe stories about personal grooming should remain secret.

In the past I was willing to get wet when it would lead to something I wanted. When I had a high school boyfriend who wanted to frolic in the surf , I would do it. When my children were young, I got in pools with them. For a while I even took up scuba diving, because I loved the otherworldliness of it. It’s not like getting wet was ever a phobia, it was a low drone that I could handle.

Around the time my first marriage was getting too toxic to endure, I also disliked my job immensely. The end result was that when I drove to and from work, I was miserable about where I was headed both coming and going. I took up lap swimming (yes, I hated getting in the pool) because the calming and meditative quality of it soothed my spirit and caressed my body in ways I was starved for. Besides, it was the only therapy I could afford.

I don’t remember why and when I stopped. All I know is that it was sometime between 25 and 30 years ago. Recently, here in my new life in Victoria, I got this urge out of the blue to start swimming again. I think it was because I have tried, as Thoreau put it, to live deliberately here, not to settle for sameness, and routines with mediocre returns. I joined an athletic club that has a lap pool,. I had to go buy a bathing suit because even with all my cruising, I didn’t have one. Then with a fair amount of anxiety, I went out and stood by my lane for the first time, looking at the water in this pool

I remember saying under my breath, “Okay, Laurel, only have real problems.” To view getting in that pool as a problem was utterly optional. There was no threat. There was no down side. Normally reason doesn’t work on anything irrational, but it did this time, I guess because I was ready for it. In I went.

The first day I could barely swim 3 laps because that visceral part of me that wasnt happy about what I was doing was making it hard to relax and just breath and feel my body move. That was about 6 weeks ago, and I am up to 15 laps in half an hour now, which is enough of a goal for me. It’s been a while since I gave any thought at all to getting in. I just do it. Just like in the past, I want something from getting wet. I want fitness, I want the full presentness of swimming, i want to feel my body working as a whole, I want the utter change from everything else I do, and I want the wonderful way I feel afterwards. What a loss it would be to let the nonsense about getting wet take all that from me.

My life is pretty carefree these days, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have tons of boring and frustrating must-dos, time sucks, and petty aggravations.There are phone calls to make, mistakes to rectify, appointments to keep, business to attend to. Even though each is small individually, they are real problems. And that pile is big enough. I’m going to do my best only to have real problems from now on.

Next up, that thing I have with heights….

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The Sacred and the Ordinary

When I am visiting an island by car, my attention is always drawn to roads that go all the way to the water’s edge at the island’s extremities. I don’t really much care if there is anything in particular to see when I pull up at that final stop sign. After all, it is the journey I’m focusing on, not the destination.

I had that kind of day, driving from the tiny village of Sturgies Bay at the southern end of Galiano Island to the northern end, where the road ends at the boundary of a marine reserve that can be accessed only by boat. Nice to do sometime, but today, no boat.

On the way up, I stopped at another regional park at Montague Bay (see photos below), and if that was all I did today I would have been pleased indeed. I sauntered along a beach made of crushed shells, some of them left from middens created thousands of years ago by indigenous people. But I had more island to explore, so I pushed on.

I noticed as I drove the narrow and winding road that i was going way below the speed limit (unusual for me), and I realized that my inner metronome had slowed. Maybe it was the record heat that took something out of me, but the car was air conditioned, so there goes that theory. I think it was that voice that seems to surface when I am surrounded by natural beauty, the voice that says “what matters is this moment. Savor it.”

So I did. When I got to the top of the island, there was a gravel road that let me go a little further, and when I reached the end, I saw a sign for Crystal Mountain Retreat, an east-meets-west center for Buddhist meditation and study, clearly deserted at the moment. The sign said people were welcome to walk the paths, so in I went. After a few minutes, I ran across this tiny clearing with a small statue of the Buddha and a few prayer flags so tattered and faded it took me a moment to see what they were.

A little further on, this beautiful banner marked the continuation of the trail.

And then, there i was, surrounded by strings of prayer flags along and above the path. A little further on were a few open-air buildings for meetings, but it didn’t look as if anyone had been there in quite a while. I was the only human in the woods.

I have always loved the Buddha. I love Buddhist temples. I love Buddhist countries. There is a Buddha presence that permeates these places and I find it instantly calming. I pressed my hands together, repeating the mantra I learned in Bhutan, and everything fell away except the moment. These woods. This day. This me.

I thought about sacredness, and its connection to the human will. This place was sacred in part because the Crystal Mountain founders decided to see it that way, but it was sacred before, and will be sacred when they abandon it, no different from all the land on this island, and everywhere.

But still, there is something about choosing to sanctify a place or a thing, or a time. Religions make a distinction between the sacred and the ordinary, and so many practices follow from this. Sometimes we put on a hat or take one off, sometimes we remove shoes, sometimes we don a robe. Sometimes we light candles, or blow them out. Some of us cross ourselves at the door of a church, or draw a sacred circle around a spot on the ground. It’s all to say, “that is one world; I am crossing into another.” I feel sorry for people who can’t related to sacredness, for without it, a lifetime is just one long stretch of the ordinary.

On my way back I drove right by the two remaining things I wanted to see.( Everything is very poorly marked here. I guess most people already know where things are.) When I realized my mistake, I was almost back at the other end of the island. I was momentarily disappointed, but then I thought that perhaps it was a good thing because the beautiful places I visited can stand by themselves in my memories without competition.

I went off in search of nothing today, and i found something precious. Perspective. And a little missing piece of myself. Both of those are roads without ends.

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Then and Now


I moved yesterday to new lodgings in James Bay, the oldest part of Victoria.  Old Is a relative term here, since the city was founded only 160 years ago. Unlike San Diego, where I spent almost my entire adult life to date, here there aren’t even remnants, like the mission and Old Town, of anything earlier. Of course it isn’t true that there had been no one here, as I sit now on land that was home to the Lekwungen people, land that was never ceded and that they were pushed from when the value of the site as a trading post  became apparent to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk in the neighborhood, and found a street where every house had a plaque on the gate (yes, fences, gates, and front yard flower gardens!). The plaque said when the house was built and who the first occupants were (examples below)  They were all from the first decades of the 1900s, when population density caused a push in James Bay all the way out to the oceanfront. While mansions were cropping up on higher ground elsewhere, James Bay became the part of Victoria where those of modest means could build homes.  

The plaques on the gates also stated the occupation of the first resident. I was astonished, and sobered by the reckoning this invited. In those days a foreman,, or a carpenter, or a manager of a business could build a home for his family on only his income.  And these are large homes by today’s standards, although several look smaller in the photographs.

I stare at homes like these, thinking about how the families of workers like these live today. We hear a lot about the hollowing out of the middle class, and here we see it manifested.

I just can’t stop thinking about what this says about the trajectories of the two great democracies in North America.  In the mid-twentieth century, at least in urban settings, the key to upward mobility shifted from acquiring a skilled trade to getting higher education.  Since that wasn’t possible for most working class people, they began to fall behind. As the service economy grew, the value of labor became harder to measure. If you don’t actually produce anything, well, how much is your labor really worth?  

The answer is, not much. The same jobs that bought family homes now offer no such promise. An article in the Atlantic pointed out recently that television’s Simpsons represent a family norm that doesn’t exist for most—a working class man with a non-wage earning wife and kids, living in a  single-family home.  

The promise of the last decades has been tied to the college degree, with a subsequent, and I think tragic, undervaluing of skilled labor. The irony of this emphasis on higher education is not well known.  The GI Bill after World War II was designed not just as a reward for service, but to keep throngs of returning soldiers from immediately flooding the job market, undercutting wages and eroding livelihoods.  The net effect was to set in motion a sea change in that labor market, so that careers that could be had in the past without higher education now set a college degree as a job requirement. This is true for skilled tradespeople like electricians, all the way to middle managers in the public or private sectors. Mentorship by one generation to the next as a path to success just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Nor does it matter if anything you learned in college directly prepares you for a job. You simply must have the diploma.

Who owns these beautiful, historic homes today?  My guess is you will find very few without college degrees, and most, even with that, probably require two breadwinners. How many are owned by foremen or clerks?  Get real.

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The Poem of the Dock

 I said in my last post that I had things to say about how quarantine has had a positive effect on my spirit and soul.  Of course, I now  feel obligated to say what that is, and i can’t.  

Lao Tse said of the Dao that the minute you try to describe it you have lost it, and I think the same can be said for trying to explain oneself. So I’m going to do something else instead.  I’m just going to let the random contents of my brain out for a little  spin without trying to force them to add up to anything.

Someone once said it’s not what you look at but what you see that matters, and the dock here has been a good place to practice. Here’s how that went this morning as I sat in the warm sunshine with my coffee.

The water is so calm, it makes perfect reflections of the trees

The movement of these reflections  reminds me of impressionist paintings

I wonder how they would paint this…

I wish I could paint

Could I learn to paint?

Where is my heron?  It’s high tide. It probably doesn’t like that

I wonder if it flew over and thought, “ oh, crap,  my shallows are gone. Maybe I should go back and take a nap.”

A nap sounds nice. Maybe after lunch…

Oh look! Two kayaks!

I wonder what it’s like to be out there right now…

The water just inches from you, the sound of the oars in the water…

I wonder what it’s like to be that duck over there…

I wonder what it’s like to be that puff of wind on the water…

Wow!  There’s a dog on that paddle board with that man!

I wonder what it’s like to be that dog…

I need a photo of the dog!

Do I really need a photo?

Nah.

There’s a man sitting on the dock on the other side of the inlet

Has he noticed me too?

I wonder what I look like to him….

Funny how we never actually see our own faces

If I cross my eyes I can see my nose.

Oh wow—a raccoon— no two! 

The smaller one is in front, turning to watch out for the other. 

What is the understanding they have?

Are those little squeaks coming from them?

Their world is perfectly in order.

It would be nice to see an otter

I can relate to otters…

Is that why I like them? Should that matter?

Quarantine is over tomorrow. I can’t believe I don’t really want to leave.

I should have put on sunscreen.

I should have put on more sunscreen my whole life

We used to call it suntan lotion, like a tan was the whole point

If I were young I’d be wearing a bathing suit and trying to get a good tan

Now I am out here because the sun feels good both where I’m  bare and where I’m not

Faint sounds of sirens, hammers and plane engines— people having days unlike mine…

I  have nothing at all to worry about.

Maybe I should go accomplish something…

Why? I’m good right here.

So that’s the report from inside my head. I am very far from Buddhist enlightenment with such a distractible mind, but it was nice to take a practice from meditation and just let my thoughts pass through without judgment, without thinking I have to do something about them. I have the affliction shared by most writers (and many others) to try to make everything mean something.  It’s nice to let that go for a while. 

The poet Archibald MacLeish said “a poem should not mean, but be,” I think that applies equally well to the poem I try to make of my life.   

??