Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Any Other Tuesday

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Paradise," #43 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

So there I was in the middle of my nightmare, just at the part where the two headed sea monster lifts his head out of the middle of the open sea, in which I have unwillingly found myself. I have been having this dream for 17 years, I think. Only this time, I blinked, and it wasn't a dream.

how did I get here?
There are those who say that the ocean is the culmination of all of the worlds tears, and that's why it is so salty. How ironic that the one thing we all need, we have an abundance of, yet in a form that, if we drink it, will kill us. How often have I indulged in my own emotional suicide, simply by taking little sips here and there at my own ocean; so sure it's enticing appearance is what I need to make it through this day. I'm no longer so sure that such self indulgence is a good thing. I used to believe that it was.
It had started out to be a Tuesday. I was going to meet a friend for lunch. Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: when making plans to meet a friend for lunch, be sure to remember whether this is one of your sane friends or not. Not only is Joel off center, he is the most insane person I have ever been semi close to. I say semi close because how can one be fully close to someone who is so busy swinging from one extreme to the next, as if on his own internal pendulum? if you get too close you might lose an eye. Still, even not close, Joel and I have always been close. We haven't seen each other in, like, 10 years, but we have always been close. I would do the math for you, but I only just made it through Geometry and Statistics because I was too busy daydreaming and answering my own internal formulas to pay attention in class. So when Joel showed up at the pub, instead of saying "hi," or "how are you," like other people do, the first thing he said was, "There are whales off the coast in Santa Cruz right now!"

Me: "let's go see them!"
Joel: "I'll drive."

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: When making plans to fill in the blank of your own life, be sure to remember whether you are sane or not. I am only semi sane, usually. Why are so many relationships based on the consummation of too many calories, anyway?

We drove off in a car headed towards the end of the land,

the beginning of the water,

the end of where I exist as a solid unit and my subconscious mind take over.

Where the sidewalk ends.

Where the Wild Things Are.

Where the world drops off into liquid fear.

I, like so many sanity seeking folks I know, like to stand back from the edge of that place, and watch from a safe distance. But that was before I had a crazy man driving the car, (ask yourself, why did I agree to strap into the passengers seat of a crazy man's car?) illegally making phone calls to rent a kayak as he drove. He was also calling his cousin to meet us at the kayak place because standing on the shore was not enough for Joel, and he knew it would not be enough for his cousin, either. They both wanted to be out there, where whales were a live happening. They wanted to actually jump off of the kayak and swim with the whales. They wanted to sing songs with the whales and watch their IQ's leap 20 points. I just wanted to make it out of the experience alive enough to actually enjoy whatever IQ I was left with on dry land.

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: Always be sure the people who are accompanying you to your greatest fear at least have a holy reverence for your fear, or at least are not going to go barreling head first into it so you have no chance to do the thing half way, even if you wanted to.
Or be like me, and completely disregard your own advice.

Here's why I agreed to get in the kayak with my crazy friend and his even crazier cousin:

Not because I wanted to do the thing that terrified me, but because I wanted to have done it.

I sat in a kayak with two fearless men who did not slow down as the open ocean approached, but sped up to be a part of it; who, when they saw whales, paddled as fast as they could

directly over where the whales had just gone under. I was the only one who considered the possibility of being swatted by the whale's massive body, of being killed, or worse,




(And then to have to continue living.)

After being swallowed whole by wave upon wave of my own fear, I eventually found that since I had no choice but to be fully in this moment, I let go and found myself on the shores of the peace that passes all understanding. I unclenched myself long enough to realize that a kayak, though tiny compared to the whole of the ocean, practically driftwood against the strength of a humpback whale, is actually fairly stable. Plus we had oars; I had much more control of this moment than I had been willing to believe.

Unexpectedly, the whales, right in front of our kayak, both jumped out of the water headfirst, facing each other.

I think we were 20 feet away from them.

I have never seen anything like that, and neither have you.

It wasn't until I was standing on solid land, the kayak having been securely secured to the top of the car, that I looked down and realized that there were salt deposits all over my arms, legs, and face; the places usually only touched by the salt of my own sweat, my own tears, had been purified from some primitive, deep store where the tears of all of the whole of the world were touching me, and I chose to bear witness. I did not wash it off for at least the rest of the day.


1 comment:

vic-a-la said...

that's crazy. and foolish. and amazing. and i wouldn't expect anything less from an afternoon with joel. and i'm glad you didn't die and did have your life-changing experience. whew! loves.