Thursday, February 27, 2014
Thoughtful of Fish
The picture on the left was taken on my recent vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii, about half-way through our trip. We were sitting on a bench near the beach watching this particular sunset when I was suddenly struck with a memory of one of my Dad's final moments. He opened one eye and seemed to be trying to say something, and then he closed it for the last time. I don't know why, but watching that sun go down made me think of that moment, and I felt the tears streaming down my face.
I wish I knew what he was trying to say, I wish I knew in that instant that this was the last time we would see each other, but I didn't. This has haunted me ever since. As the sun in that picture sank down to the water and out of sight, I was struck by the idea of impermanence; all that arises must cease. A moment so profound and unforgettable as it happens, is also one you can never have back.
And just as I was reflecting on that, about 20 small fish spontaneously flipped up into the air out of a big wave that was about to crash onto shore. I guess they were trying to save themselves from being pummelled on the rocks. The surprise of that awesome sight jolted me back into the present. This is life, Irene! For pete's sake, live it!
This trip was, for me, meant to be a time to relax, recover, and reflect. I gave myself permission to do whatever I felt like, to eat and drink what I wanted, to laugh and be stupid, to cry if I felt like it, to go on a few adventures, and to talk about it when something interesting or profound struck me. The Big Island of Hawaii was the perfect backdrop to do all of those things. Thank goodness for an open-minded and patient partner in my husband. He tells me that I'm the one who taught him these qualities, because he wasn't born with them...but wherever he got them from, I am forever grateful.
Since I am not a particularly religious person, it's my philosophy that helps me to put life in perspective. I've always been this way, reflective and philosophical, even when I was quite young. When I was very small, my ambition was to be a wise old woman. To heck with being a doctor or a entrepreneur or a guitar teacher...I was going to be a wise old woman. Is that weird or what? I pictured myself being able to talk people through their problems, to have the ability to help anyone with any personal difficulty. I wanted to be a good listener.
But I also felt the need to express. When I was in Grade 4, I used to hand in stories to my teacher, Miss Logan. They weren't assignments or homework, I just wrote about things that struck me, and handed my paper in. Poor Miss Logan had enough work to do without having to respond to me, but she always did. When I first picked up a guitar at the age of 12, songwriting became my new form of expression. I wrote in diaries for many years, which helped me to find ideas for songs, and also helped to make sense of what was happening in my life. In 1996 I started to write articles online about songwriting. That was even before the word "blog" came into existence. And now I write here. It started out being more about a songwriter's view of the world, but eventually I came to the conclusion that it's only Irene's view of the world, and that's okay too. From the inside out.
During this trip I have realized that, outside of golfing and gardening, writing this blog has become my favourite and most self-satisfying venture. I am most surprised when someone tells me they've been reading my posts, because, to tell you the truth, I don't really expect people to care much about what I'm thinking :-) Occasionally, one or two of you become my Miss Logan and respond to something I've written and I appreciate that very much.
Though it's impossible to actually relive a moment in time, at the very least I can try to express my experience of it. But I'm also going to work harder at living in the moment, because you never know when a school of fish will suddenly appear...