Before natural light appeared on the horizon I watched a dot of light out on the water move closer to shore. As the sun rose behind walls of gray clouds, the shape of the fishing boat, sitting low in the water, was moving slowly through rough waves. I remembered seeing that same boat heading out a day or so ago, the only boat out there coming or going. I wondered how those aboard were fairing, thinking about how long they’d been riding choppy waters heading homeward. When on it’s way out, when the boat had disappeared out of sight, the ocean had turned a dark angry gray with wind sending white froth flying. There were no visible boats out there then.
Later the walls of the house shook as the high tide drove thundering waves of water straight in, the scary “maybe-this-time”direction. That small-ish boat had taken a big chance by going out and coming back in a tiny window of possibility, demonstrating the very reason fishing is such a dangerous occupation. What drives the choice to head out onto the vast sea? Adventure? Recklessness? Desperation? I understand little of working lives out on those waters.
This Fall’s weather has been a baffling fluctuation between beautiful days of sun and warmth (too much warmth to bypass unease despite the joy of it) and raging days like this one with rain and wind driven so hard that going out to run errands is a fool’s mission, where hunkering down and poking through the cupboard in hopes of finding a stray can of soup to ward off chill (or dread?) seems a wise dinner or even breakfast solution.
There is something “off” about this fair-foul weather cycle, just like something is “off” with our politics, with our grocery shopping, with our attempts of family & friend gatherings that chance serious illness in the aftermath. Trying to go to school or to get a medical appointment becomes a heroic quest. We’re so past wanting “normal” back. It’s gone. We know that while we wait to see what happens next. Supply chain issues continue to make every outing a crap shoot despite news reports that goods now flow more freely. Why would cream cheese suddenly vanish? Why is the OTC “Cold & Flu” store section empty without new CDC stats on increasing hospitalizations or deaths? How can we sustain jaw dropping costs on each new shopping trip whether it be it for gasoline or milk or other everyday needs much less for presents or holiday decorations? Some can buy while others face stark choices: food or medicine or fuel oil. Many of us are adding even more layers of clothing worn in increasingly cold houses as new McMansions rise on lands that, just yesterday, supported birds and other wildlife? So many of us are like that boat chancing heading out in rough waters. Was safety ever part of our past?
May we make it out and back into port. May we sustain one another. May our priorities give way leaving room for sustenance and comfort. May we make the changes necessary so our beautiful blue marble planet continues to shine in the dark universe. May we learn and embrace new possibilities for ways of living that nourishes not just us, but others as well.