Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waters Blue

This morning I was prancing through the text of the first volume of my autobiography, in preparation for its printing in a month or so. As I was reviewing the material that I had written about my childhood in Belmont Shores, California, I came across a passage that I had written in connection with a poem that I had included. For some odd reason, it moved me deeply, so much so that I desire to share it today. At the heart of the matter are the feelings that I have for the ocean and why I loved to sit on the shore listening to the surf, or why I enjoy sailing instead of simply riding in a powered boat. First, the introduction to the poem, then the poem (actually lyrics to a song), and finally my explanation as to why the sea and things like unto it appeal to me.

At the creation of the earth, there were two kinds of waters mentioned, the waters above the earth and the waters beneath the sky. Water has ever been the symbol of cleansing and life, of solitary journeying, and of the joining with the infinite. I believe that life is such a solitary journey fraught with storm and eminent danger, but only for this life. We set sail from a distant shore to make our way into mortality and hope one day to return home to friends and family. We sight each other's sails from time to time and even sail along side, but the craft is ours alone, no one can take the helm for us. If we lose our way, the waters of the world have no consolation; where we have been is no more; the only sure waters are above us, by which and through which we will finally navigate if we are ever to find home.

Waters Blue

I used to sail with friends from shore to shore
but never left behind an open door
and then I set my face against the wind
and have not seen my friends again
the waters carried me beyond the sun
to things I'd never seen nor heard of
and now I ride a cresting wave alone
and watch for the sweet hills of my home

Waters blue, waters to look into
trying to get myself through
waters pale, waters reflecting my sail
waters erasing my trail back to you

Times and time again to drift away
the winds and oceans have no soul
drifting tempest tossed from sea to sea
roll all there is to life from me
in this darkness of the wind swept tide
my soul is yearning for a beacon
a star or sunshine flooding through the night
to show me where to find my light

Waters blue, waters to look into
trying to get myself through
waters pale, waters reflecting my sail
waters erasing my trail back to you

Some say there is no harbor we can find
where we can shelter from the wind
this world's an endless waste is what they say
and so they drown in their own way
but I see the harbor shining blue and free
of all the storms of life surrounding
and soon the sails will signal waiting eyes
and arms that sweep away goodbyes

Waters blue, waters to look into
trying to get myself through
waters pale, waters reflecting my sail
waters erasing my trail back to you

9 October 1979

Anthropologists and other social scientists, in order to define the evolutionary development of mankind, suggest that our fascination with the sea hearkens back through our racial subconsciousness to when our far distant ancestors first fearfully emerged from the seas to pursue a new course of life upon the terra firma. In evolutionary terms, I suppose that the sea might be construed to be the original Garden from whence we cast ourselves out in our attempt to bring into being an advancement of life. The sea then becomes our mother from whose womb we have all sprung. Were I a secular humanist, this would all seem quite prosaic to me. Others in the scientific world, students of human development, suggest that the beginning of life within the literal womb of every child's mother is what draws us to the ocean. The sea then becomes a surrogate mother rather than a literal one; one to which we long to return because only there can we partially regain what we once enjoyed in full: peace and comfort.

In terms of my own self-analysis, I do not believe that it is the splash of amniotic fluid that draws me to the ocean, nor is it the genetic echoes of primordial waves upon ancient beaches upon which my ancestors slid. I am drawn to the ocean for two reasons. The primary one does involve a remembrance; one which involved a gentle time with loving parents. The second comes from the same time frame: a young boy filled with the wonder of the ever-expanding vastness of his world. It is the surprise of the immensity of the horizon that affects me the most when I crest that last hill before the shore. I am always astonished. A similar effect took place within me as I drove down Paseo del Norte in north Albuquerque in the early evening looking westward. Albuquerque, I have said many times, has the most magnificent sunsets in the world. It is not just the coloring, which is inspiring, but the fact that one cannot, even with perfect peripheral vision, take in the horizon all at once. It is too broad a view for human sight.

Were I dissecting my own emotional viscera, I would say that this love of the sea, the overwhelming vastness of the sea, hearkens back to a far earlier time than anthropologists and geologists imagine. It is a time before the foundations of the earth were laid, when my spirit looked upon the infinity of space and the eternity of time and I decided that this vastness would be my abode forever. The ocean is a faint representation of home, but one which most men have forgotten entirely. In their attempt to explain their undeniable feelings at such wonders, they have imagined for themselves scientific mythologies of inordinate complexity. It is my conviction that our sense of beauty, eternal and infinite, is but one of the many aesthetic senses that passed through the veil with us as we came into mortality. I, for one, am grateful for that link with my destiny.


Anonymous said...

Me too...

I love the sea. Now, I don't like going in it, per se...but I love its motion and sound.

I'd never thought of it in those terms before, but you are probably right. :)

Chris said...

So, when you sail beyond the sun (into and past the horizon I presume), a new chapter of your life begins; and, while you can still remember the previous chapter in your life, you can never reopen that door. Ultimately, you are right. Each one of us has to make the journey, and while we may have companions along the way, there may be times of solitude. If anything, spiritual solitude to truly find oneself. The sad part is that it seems that the "finding of oneself" repeats every so often in life (at least for me). Why is it we lose our way so easily? Is it because we lose our compass or just fail to look at it?

Rebecca said...

I really liked that. I don't know how I missed this when you wrote it a week ago.

Maybe I needed to read it today.