i’m sitting in the ladies loo on the ferry, staring at the red door in front of me. noticing the grey floor with rust-coloured stains and the corrosion on the screws that hold the sink to the wall. my mind drifts back to our travels in the uk – specifically a long weekend on shetland island with friends, and a photograph of a white house with a red door that i made when we were there. of course that’s not my only drift in nostalgia from that weekend. there were puffins and shetland ponies, stories of an adventurous childhood and one of the most memorable dinner experiences of my life. as i sit here, listening to the rumbling of the engine beneath my feet i notice the change in timbre and know that we’ve cast off and are headed for the mainland.
my mind moves again and i’m thinking about human taxonomy and various attempts through time to put ourselves (or others) into boxes. personality profiling – DISC, enneagram, myers briggs… – or physical profiling – fat, thin, tall, short, beautiful, ugly. gender profiles – male, female, non-binary. there’s no room in these taxonomies for outliers and individuals. we are all the same as someone else. does ‘belonging’ and the longing for such a thing distance us from our true nature, our true self? i don’t know the answer to any of this, i’m simply delighting in the questions this morning.
outside, i am entranced by the light, by the froth spilling from the stern of the boat. by my shadow – hair and scarf whipping in the wind. awake at 4:30 this morning i started thinking about David Whyte … about putting myself in a situation that will stretch me creatively and personally. i sit again with thoughts around my comfort in putting myself in the ‘writers’ category of human taxonomy. i think of all the ways i am connected with people around the world. people i’ve met through other journeys, other instances of ‘putting myself out there’. not one of these events has ever been a disappointment, or resulted in even one small whisper of regret. this upcoming journey another chance to meet myself, meet others, further my creative journey.
how would you describe the ocean to someone who’s never seen it. here, in the wild west coast i’m the only person on the beach. i love this solitary time that i have whilst nic is off mountain biking with a friend. waves break through the cave at the end of the beach a mixture of froth and black sand, tumbling like a fury to wash over my feet. i’m not quick enough to escape their watery grasp and i don’t care. gannet feathers are pulled towards the cliffs by the wind, until it has them in a circular dance. are the waves getting closer or further away? closer i think. the roar of the sea a familiar friend and i wish for a home on this wild coast as well as the one we have on the island. my heart belongs to both places and i know nic’s heart gravitates towards these oceans as well.
death makes me reconsider the fragility of life. how we’re all clinging to the same rock, bound by laws of nature and some divine plan that sometimes feels very unfair. am i grateful enough for the life i have been given? am i clear about how i want to live it and do i honour the earth, the sky, the people around me as they deserve?
my mind comes back to the scarf at my neck – gifted to me by someone i no longer have a connection with. this one thread remains long after the friendship has faded. i return again to the red – doors, blood, fury, the maple’s autumn splendour, the flame that burns inside me. i think about all the ways i’ve made life complicated for myself and all the ways i’ve chosen not to. there’s a woman carving labyrinths in the black sand below me connecting me to my earlier thoughts.
ways i can be charmed
wild oceans, the sound of wind in the flax bushes, tree bark, the curve of a fence line, skinny dipping, stars, outdoor fires, storytelling.