Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gray days

The gray days are back, and a stiff wind has been blowing out of the north; we have only these low low tides to remind us that spring is really on its way.

It's odd, I suppose: I really love the island life; love living at sea level and walking the beach, love photographing the boats -- especially sailboats, kayaks, dinghies and canoes.

And yet I'm not really cut out for this existence: I'm allergic to shellfish and most fish, so I don't take advantage of all the food that lies out there for the eating. I'm not really a boater, either -- though I was married in a canoe. My back is too stiff for kayaking, I haven't rowed or canoed in years, and if there's enough wind to fill the sails there's too much chop and wave for me to ever feel really comfortable in a sailboat.

All of which makes me more of a spectator in this life, admiring nature's bounty and beauty, but all from the safe distance of my cosy living room, or standing on the shoreline; occasionally stepping through the muck to look for shells and bits of glass. I see this pattern in other ways -- a reluctance to engage -- and wonder sometimes how much of my life is being spent dabbling my toes around the edges.

But perhaps it's a factor of age: certainly it's true that now I understand there are only so many hours in a day; that there's only so much energy I have to spend. So I pour what time and energy I have into family and friends, writing and photography, the daily chores of walking dog, feeding cats, and doing household chores, carefully carving out meditation time and hoarding what's left for classes, travel, the occasional acting role, the occasional photography show...

Maybe it's okay that I don't sail: maybe I AM a sailboat, carefully tethered to my dock most days but free to go where the wind takes me should it arise. And perhaps I only question my choices on days like this when my skies are gray, my tide is low and sailing looks like something only other people do.


jimtheartist said...

Hi Diane. We are just meeting. My wife introduced me to your site about a week ago because she thought your writing/photos were wonderful; and because I, as an artist (painter/photographer) would also be interested. My wife and I also might be described as Buddhaphalians. She is from a Lutheran background, me from a Baptist, but each of us have found our own practices along the way; and presently we attend an Episcopal church that we both like and enjoy certain classes (it also is the most "progressive" church in a very fundamentalist area ( NW Arkansas).
Interestingly, I too am working with images and words, though most often my images are related to questions which I hope will direct the observer into a contemplative mode. Soon I hope to post my own web and blog.
Besides connecting, I also wanted to respond to today's post. Seems to me you are radically "engaged". To me, being engaged does not necessarily involve "doings", but is about being in touch with one's deep feelings, contemplating the deeper meanings and issues, and "doing" according to the directions of one's intuitive spirit. Your post today (as well as numerous others I have read) was sprinkled from start to finish with beautiful examples of those endeavors.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

Welcome, Jim -- and thanks for reminding me that engaging isn't always about "doing."

Wow. Being who the two of you are, in Arkansas, has got to be challenging!