But todayâ€™s news means this upcoming year, the year where I hoped everything would finally start to settle for us on our new island, appears to be fast becoming another year of navigating through stormy waters, destination uncertain.
The fact that, as I write this, Iâ€™m decidedly off-island, sitting at one of LCBâ€™s places of work (Iâ€™m not even going to attempt to explain this one), drinking a room-temperature Diet Coke in an attempt to mask the feeling of what Iâ€™m absolutely positive is the fourth stage of starvation, is probably not encouraging perspective on the matter. Were I not in polite society, so to speak, Iâ€™d go for a run, or at least pace the room for an hour or seven. But I am in polite society, and so I sit quietly, pacing inwardly, and trying not to type too hard.
When I lived in Chicago, I kept one or two pictures of the ocean at my desk in the English office where I worked. During the day, if I hit a point, much like this one, where I needed to mentally excuse myself from the situation, Iâ€™d pull out one of my pictures. The pictures were all of beaches Iâ€™d actually traveled to, so Iâ€™d call to mind all the sensory details I could recall: the sun bright and warm on my skin, the sound of the waves as they broke near shore, the breeze lifting my hair in a swirl around me, the waters parting cool on my legs as I stood in the ocean, staring fast into the vast expanse of sea and sky.
In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne, one of the main characters and a prisoner at Shawshank State Prison, speaks of the Pacific Ocean where he longs to escape to and says of it, â€œThey say it has no memory.â€
In the moments during all my trips when I stood, quite literally, in either the Atlantic or the Pacific, there was usually a point of losing all awareness of everything before that moment and of anything that would possibly come thereafter. In that space, the past and the future ceased to exist.
It was place separate from all outside experiences. It was a place without memory.
During all those years of teaching in Chicago then, if I needed to, Iâ€™d use one of the pictures as a conduit to take me back, if only for a minute, to that place without memory.
Now, all these years later, I find myself restless in my seat, with obligations to certain dictates of civility, and then suddenly Iâ€™m pulling up pictures on my computer.
When I realize what Iâ€™m doing, I canâ€™t help but thrill to it.