Sunday, October 12, 2008

Desperately Seeking Calm

I’ve been in Maine for the last few days. This is the last weekend before the cottage is closed for the winter.

Jake and I went out to see some harbor seals today that were lounging on a shoal just off a nearby island. As I rowed us out, Jake was casting a line to fish. We got close to the rocks and he pulled his line in.

I don’t want to hook a seal, he said.

Good point, I said.

It wouldn’t be very respectful, he said.

Here was an 8-year-old boy, clear on a simple concept so many adults are completely clueless about. Respect.

We tossed over some of the chopped clams we were using for bait. The seals came within about ten feet of the boat, poking their heads up, sometimes jumping and splashing. We watched for a long time before we headed back to the house.

The seals followed us most of the way. I think they wanted to be sure we were leaving before getting back on their sunny rocks.

It was beautiful. The day clear and warm. Jake lay down across the backbench of the rowboat and closed his eyes for most of the ride.

I want that calm. The calm of a child who has everything he needs, good friends and a clear, if not simple, understanding of the world. I find myself anxious and worried about things I cannot control.

Part of me wants to stay here. Hide from the world, out on my boat, watching seals. Listening for the loons calling. Hauling wood in, sitting in front of a roaring fire.

Part of me knows better; I haven’t slept any better here than I have been at home.

As a student of history, I find this time fascinating. Like Bob Case, the meteorologist who predicted the Perfect Storm on October 1991, I have heard the warnings for the last couple years and am watching it all come together.

I want the water and my boat. My kids, laughing while we all play a wicked game of Pictionary. I want to be oblivious.

I’m not. I know as this crisis grows, jobs will be lost. A lot of jobs.

It’s been hard for me to write about anything else and yet, I know I should be writing about everything else.

Like respecting harbor seals we delight in watching.

I’ve worked so hard in the last few years to control my impulsiveness. To see the anxiety for what it is- miserable but manageable.

I need to step away from it all for a while. Soak in my kids, be with good friends, and remember to laugh. Let it go. There is nothing I can do. The boards that I sit on, the endowments I am responsible for, will create a wild rollercoaster ride for the next few months.

There is nothing to be changed in the moment.

Except the things I know I can change. I know I can go running every day. I know I can close my computer and walk away from the news. I know I can turn off my cell phone.

I can have the calm I desperately want right now if I am willing to let go.


Blogger Rev. Bob said...

Do you have a little inner Hunter S. Thompson you can hook up when the going gets weird?

I love to read what you write, but if unlugging the box for a good long while will help you find some peace and happiness, I count that a good deal.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Ian O said...

You can come down and visit me to take a load off. :-D

8:57 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

I found that just reading your description of your encounter with the seals was extremely calming.

Thanks for the virtual retreat!

8:57 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

oh, ian, I don't think I can keep up with the college crowd!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Those were good words.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

we all need to find that inner peace somehow.....its needed more and more these days.

12:27 PM  

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