Hi friends. Oi—it’s been a while. My bad. I finished Grad School and my over-fried brain just couldn’t cope with the idea of deadlines, writing, or anything that closely resembled either of the two. I’ve missed you—your writings, your words, your images. I’m excited to dive back into this loving little bloggersphere.
This past week I did something I haven’t done in a couple of years, at least. I kayaked. I took a half day from work, and I drove an hour up the coast to Santa Barbara. I slid the kayak into the water, and promptly flipped it, before gaining my bearings, and heading out to sea.
The first few digs of paddle into water were tough. I could feel muscles aching, nearly tearing at the seems—places in my body long unused to strain and effort were now stretching to accommodate the waters I had left to go. The day was perfect. The sun warm, the water blue and glistening like frosted glaciers. Kelp lie scattered on its surface, while iridescent little fish darted to and fro beneath their shadowed forms.
Mostly, it was quiet. I’ve missed quiet. I didn’t realize how much until I was out there on the water, listening to wind whip and toss my hair about. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed this rich silence until the only noises I could hear were the lapping of the waters up against the boat. The gentle lick of paddle in the depths beside me. The sound of salt sticking to my legs. The sound of ocean in my ears, like seashells held up against the face. The sound that sun makes as it warms against my skin, shrouding me in peace.
Did you know that quiet makes a sound? Did you know that if you listen you can hear the seaweed swirl about amidst the underwater tides? That if you place the all of self beside the water, you can hear the million grains of salted sand dance alongside currents? It is as if you have suddenly become the universe.
Despite my fear of all that lies beneath, I tied off to some kelp and closed my eyes. Worshipped in the way the sleepy brains utter whispered prayers that sound like wild mutterings of long crazed minds. All of my words are wild mutterings. Was any of me ever normal?
Later, on the beach, once I have promptly flipped the kayak yet again on my return trip home, I walk the shoreline. I gather up the oddities that lie nestled in the sand. The vibrant blue shell of a crab. It looks like a galaxy painted on the underbelly of pale peach. Seaweed like Neapolitan ice cream, vivid pinks and rich chocolate browns. The exoskeletons of jellyfish and strange creatures, bodies long evacuated, growing on the shell of mollusks. A little ocean tree; a strip of seaweed like the tentacles of octopi.
We lay them out before us on a bamboo matt, and treasure all the strangeness of an underwater world. In silence, we contemplate the living that exists within our time. How can there still be so much in this world that I have not yet seen? Even the places I have been a thousand times before bring me new gifts upon their midnight tides.
I am feeling better. I have felt the silent nourishment that chaos has been keeping from my mind. My fleeting, flaky little soul is ready to rejoin the elements of self that nearly faded into darkness. I have not been good—I have not nurtured all the pieces that needed the re-knitting back together. But it is amazing what a little love can do, and how the quiet magnitude of salty air can scrub away at rusted edges of the heart.