We are thrilled to share some hand-picked readers' notes featured in Issue 60: At Sea.
The night before my late father’s birthday I studied the map on the wall. All those countries in earth tones, like flattened shards of ancient pottery. The eastern shores of the Americas curving distantly around Europe and Africa, as if they’d been spooning until the Atlantic swelled and forced them apart. The archipelagos, distorted by the projection, reaching like desperate fingertips across the expanse.
My son doesn’t hug me in front of the school anymore. And my mother—it’s getting harder for her to climb the stairs.
I slipped into bed. My husband sleepily stretched an arm across the mattress’s mid-ocean ridge, hooked a heavy wrist under my knee, and placed a warm hand on my thigh. Throwing an anchor, against all odds, against the relentless rifting. When I closed my eyes, I saw Asia. Across the Pacific, watching the West Coast draw nearer. A few centimeters each year, though volcanoes erupt and the ground shakes, those lands converge. You can see how their curves will eventually collide, fold into each other, make new shapes. Novopangea. A new world, whole again.
In the morning, a soft rain fell. The end of water’s atmospheric time. Water returning to its resting place in the sea, which tastes like grief. Above the bay, a full moon tugged the tide back to the shore.
Alison Saperstein, Seattle, WA
Grandfather says sea water and the plasma in our blood have the same concentrations of salt and other ions. The moving ocean inside our bodies and the salinity of the water holding us, the sea upon which we float, have much in common.
We both know I’m restless and unpredictable.
“And yet!” Grandfather says with his finger pointed up, “you have tides and we can calculate them. Just study the movements of the Moon.”
In his way, he encourages me to surrender to whomever or whatever is holding me.
A theater seat, as I watch live actors on the stage.
A book that I wish would last forever.
A dish of pasta, created by another, that will never be recreated.|
A brilliant sunset at my father’s gravesite.
Swell. On the surface. Emotions rise, fall, swirl, atomize, vaporize, condense, and get blown out of proportion. With time, emotions ferment in the Moon’s light, the Sun’s heat, the salty air. They transform, becoming easier to digest. I take a breath with me and dive into the depths where compassion lives. It’s quieter down here. In order to surrender to love, I have to give up my desire to be in control.
“Live each moment as if you had waves inside of you. Ride them, and respond to the world in ways that are most called for. Come from a devotional space, deep down in the dark quiet waters. Bring that to the surface.”
Grandfather knows how to hold my attention.
Diana Mullins, Irvine, CA
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