Sunday, November 27, 2016

Emptying My Pockets

Excerpt from my diary dated September 8th, 2016

Late in the hour, I emptied my coat pockets as one does at day's end with the tea stained cups bought and brought from other people's garages or gained from the free box when rain extinguished the sale, only the cups of my pockets are still wet with the wave. I pulled from them teeth and petrified bone. Each curled in my hand asking I name the shape they once were and the creature they had help compose. 

I thought of Lynn Pederson and the liquid beauty of her book of prose, "The Nomenclature of Small Things," and chanted her captured phrase which I have noted below:

"Perhaps it's a romantic notion - confinement and discovery." 
- Isaac Newton Waits Out The Plague.

Life at the Arctic, absent the plague.

Blogging Collage - Diary Writings, Napkin Notes and My Photographs (Plus A Few Taken By Others).

This is not my only blog. I have a long standing Montessori blog called The Moveable Alphabet. It is a much loved creation of mine. I savor the stories and the articles I have written there and hope to one day write more. This is a personal blog about where I came from and how I arrived here. At least, that is what the sub-title says.

I created it for a course I am currently taking, part of my MAT requirements. We write our own atlases; mapping our past while standing in the present and finding that location, too. To do that, have to be willing to open up the cabinet doors of your own history; a history which many of us keep locked away or hidden from view.

I have many locks of various sizes and shapes on mine and have lost the keys to several. This blog is going to document my life at the top of the world, as well as the experiences and choices that brought me here. Some posts may be difficult to read as they were difficult to write, but for me to truly understand where I am and where I am going, I need to stop editing my own history and become my own locksmith.

Where I came from is a quilt made of so many scraps of a life lived by a singular woman seeking to find home. I am not Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I am the great-great granddaughter of a man who re-invented himself by sailing alone around the world. I am often alone, but I am not without companions; both large and small.

Writing this, I am remembering one of my favorite authors, Gretel Ehrlich. She has inspired me in so many ways; especially as a woman writer/adventurer with a romantic heart for both the land and for finding a life partner.  Years ago, when I first read about her travels across the tundra, I never imagined I would be there one day, too.  I encourage each of you to find and read her books. Here is a quote from her writings:

"Animals hold us to what is present: to who we are at the time, not who we've been or how are bank accounts describe us. What's obvious to animals is not the embellishment that fattens our emotional resumes but what's bedrock and current in us: aggression, fear, insecurity, happiness, or equanimity. Because they have the ability to read our involuntary ticks and scents, we're transparent to them and thus exposed - we're finally ourselves."

- Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces

As you will read, I have already shared space with a walrus and anticipate encountering many more Arctic animals; at a distance, perhaps. This is where I am - Barrow, Alaska, at the top of the world. Sing this song with me as Whitman sang his song of himself.  Arriving to the top of the world is not a singular, one-time event; your plane lands and you are there. You arrive every day and often more than once in a day.  Ehrlich wrote, "Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are." The present is our constant and navigating it is our journey.

Today, November 26th, 2016, the temperature is -15, but it feels like -28. The sun will not rise again till mid-January. T. S. Eliot beautifully wrote, "So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing."

Wait Without Hope

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing...

T.S. Eliot, East Coker

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Born With A Sea Captain's Tale Etched Into The Cup of My Palm

Before I arrived at the top of the world, my great-great grandfather had traveled its waters. I came looking for his footsteps and to make my own.

Joshua Slocum

To view a Google map of his solo-journey around the globe (he is the first person to solo-circumnavigate the world) go to the link below. Once there, click on a blue ship icon and an excerpt, written at this location, from his book, "Sailing Alone Around The World," will appear in the left side bar.