While I was charging Mystique's batteries, I decided to do mine.
My bright yellow kayak beckoned me to take her for a spin (or "a stroke" for you kayakers) around Stocking Island. Rather than have Cammie (my underwater camera companion) accompany me, I decided to paddle this one solo. Besides the last time I took her, she left me....or more accurately I left her and almost lost her.
Today's southerly breeze finally filled in gradually after sunrise and made the early morning air feel delicate yet delightfully comfortable. Sand Dollar Beach had been my eastward anchorage for almost a week and now it was Thursday, I think. Lost track of time! Delightful sensation when nature rules. Total timelessness!
As I paddled to windward, I
chose to observe my thoughts and feelings rather than just look at scenery.
My mind turned to Cammie as I paddled past this now familiar
mile-long beach. I suddenly realized Cammie had negatively impacted upon my previous kayakings. I had brought her along on past paddles so she could capture moments so I would remember them later and better. She surely had better memory than I.
When she was with me, I thought I could then write about my day's experiences, share them and enjoy visuals of them forever. But I quickly realized this practice and perspective was actually doing me a disservice. It was mostly ego-driven. I want to show embellish my blog and liven my story-telling.
I wasn't absorbing my surroundings with the same emotional sponge when Cammie accompanied me so today was different in that I experienced nature moments without attempting to capture them.
The difference was as stark as night and day. I was no longer peering out a viewfinder for the best angle and lighting. I was no longer relying on something much less sensitive and aware (no offense, Cammie), Now I simply moved my internal lens and antennae to absorb the moments rather than frame them. This approach explains why this post is void of photos I could and would have taken otherwise.
I have never been that deeply attached to Cammie, (our relationship was mostly functional), but before I slithered into my seat, some of my ego announced it could create word images better than Cammie's. My ego was in competition with a camera.
Seems like I had little choice. But in reality, I always have a choice even if my mini-me comes with me on every adventure. This time though, she or he would be taking a back seat to today's new-view paddling perspective.
As I moved southward along the mile long stretch of Sand Dollar Beach, I decided rather than snapshots, I would take mental notes of my thoughts and feelings. I would be more alert, watchful and attentive this day. I would stay present and open to all the various realms and realities that opened up before me at this time. No expectations or any anticipations. I was not throwing caution to the wind; I was hugging nature's shores and again finding my way with her guidance. This was no collecting field trip samples to stare, compare and share. This time would bare and air to what was really there. I would see and be. I would again go with the flows.
From my camera-less view, the sea, sky, the beach, the coral, my thoughts, my feelings and even my body seemed more alive and vibrant this day. I felt almost child-like excited and energized by a first day of school. I knew I would be more than a mere sponge today; I would be one with whatever. I would be receptive and relative to the time and place.
Believe me, I did not take a shot of adrenaline or eat a sugary breakfast that day! Everything about my water ride would feel somehow strangely familiar at the same time new.
But I realized as I was not framing nature, judging it, labeling or identifying it. I was simply experiencing all as fully as possible. But they all
somehow became more mysterious, mythical and meaningful. As I separated features with individual focus, I realized ego was still present.
A camera separates, but why should I? So then I observed jagged shore coral, tidal surge, wind, sea gulls, sea smells as connected and all integral parts of a larger whole. I no longer stayed attentive to one, then two, then all, then my thoughts, feelings. I was watching the difference between disconnecting and joining. Observing parts of the whole was no longer fair; I had to see all in context to appreciate that featured in a bigger picture.
When I saw the all, my eyes seemed to
form a lighter, brighter more complete mystique.
While I observed my thoughts, I thought maybe I'll miss the show. But the power of the various moments such as the intensity of my paddle strokes, the various water colors, sizes, shapes of sharp coral and clouds, the surging , pulsating surf against the shore, the cool and then warmer air and sea temps, the air flow as I weaved between boulders and reefs, the clarity of water depths and sea bottoms, the snoring and applauding waves sounds against rock, the calming, yet endless ocean and sky horizons emphasizing and reminding how small I am in the scene of things. I felt I belonged, but knew I could not stay. I had been a welcomed visitor and viewer.
I wanted to have the panoramic adventure as well as the microscopic one. But that impulse was coming from mini-me.
I was no longer identifying beach, cave, water or rock formation as such and such. Instead I was feeling the sensations and forces at work near and around them. I felt as if my kayak and I were floating between natures - the sky and sea and land. My overriding image and sensation I had was I had wandered onto a sleeping giant's watery belly and was moving up and down, in and out with each inhale and exhale.