(Friday, March 10, 2013)
I e-a-sed awake this morning. In perfect synchronization, I reached for my phone just as it’s alarm was about to chime. I already knew it was a “snooze” kind of day. As I lay shedding the last vestige of the nocturnal, I struggled to identify a sound coming from outside the house, a noise in the distance.
A foghorn! My body reacted first while my slow to wake brain was still stumbling in the dark. Crossing the finish line of consciousness, I realized that what I heard was not the blowing of a foghorn but, in fact, the sound of a train whistle. The 5:whatever out of whoknowswhere advising all to clear the tracks. Here comes the nonstop to nowhere. (Last Train. Very excellent song. Simpler, by gone days)
I blame (but now thank) a night of weird, “that’s got to mean something” dream snippets for my taking almost a full minute to realize that what I was hearing was not what everyone else was hearing (had they been listening). As a longtime “fan” of Carlos Castaneda and his teacher Don Juan, I know that what I experienced was meant only for me. Don Juan would have told me that it was a “gift”.
Where’s this leading? Maybe nowhere but here’s a little “supportation”: I was born and raised in the “Ocean State”. As a little girl(ie) it was weekend custom for my Dad to take me to the marina in nearby East Greenwich to watch the boats. Sometimes we’d get out to walk on the dock, sometimes not. Afterwards it was off to Newport Creamery for an ice cream cone. He always got chocolate, I always got peppermint stick. Always. And although I can’t remember our conversations, the effect(s) of those trips has never left me.
I made a personal vow one day that I would always live close to the coast, to have access to the ocean. I love the water, I love sailing, I love swimming (in spite of having almost drowned). The sound, smell, taste….anything to do with the ocean I’m there. It’s in my blood. (see! I told you it wasn’t ice water in my veins!) And so I lived for a short time in a cottage on Wickford Bay, later I settled in within a stone’s throw of Narragansett Beach and Bay.
When I hear the sound of seagulls I hear home. To my ears, there’s nothing more soothing than listening to the sound of halyards gently clanking on the mast of a boat as it rocks ever so slightly. I can close my eyes and almost feel the gentle sway of that boat. I have always found solace, comfort, joy and peace when I’m near the ocean. Anything relating of and to a coastline has always given me a sense of connectedness. I feel grounded.
Then I moved. To a place not within easy reach of the beach and coastline. I moved to one of the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. No access to the one source that gave me balance. Life went on. Then I made a life with someone else and 2 dogs. I had found another home. Away from the ocean. I had found a new balance. Then we moved…
To a life that brought challenge in all areas. Challenges that persist in spite of living once again within a few miles of a beach, a coastline, an ocean. The distance from where I was 10 years ago this month to where I find myself today is greater than the physical distance of the 800 miles it took to move here. The stupidly weirdass thing about it all? The irony? I moved away from my home of homes in 1993. During the next 10 years I found a home many of us search for and if lucky, we find. So it is more than mere irony that I find myself sitting here now, 10 years to the month, living a life that might as well be 8 million miles from what I’ve always known.
So what about the foghorn? Yes, it had its place in my world. But I’ve not heard the sound of a foghorn in well over 2 decades…. Until this morning. According to our Wiki friends::
“A foghorn or fog signal or fog bell is a device that uses sound to warn vehicles of navigational hazards…”
As I currently navigate a “storm of the century”, I’m grateful for the gift this morning. Grateful to hear the warning signal that might just give me a chance to reach the shores of safety. And home.