Star of the Sea

star of the sea
star of the sea

Sat quietly on the boat yesterday, embroidering this little feather star, my Stella Maris…a simple project, using just straight stitches and some iridescent DMC stranded polyester floss. Signs of the coming wet season fill me with a gentle melancholy, and the lovesick madness that inspired my last post has passed.

I woke up Monday morning as though from a long and bizarre dream…shook my head to clear away the last drifts of fairy dust, and knew it was all over. “Madness,” I call it, thinking myself free and restored to sanity after that week of lunacy (I am convinced now that it was the full moon) though last night this passage from Henry Miller’s Nexus seemed to speak directly to my experience, and left me smiling at the poignancy of it all:

Fleeting though such a love may be, can we say that there had been a loss? The only possible loss—and how well the true lover knows it!—is the lack of that undying affection which the other inspired. What a drab, dismal, fateful day that is when the lover suddenly realizes that he is no longer possessed, that he is cured, so to speak, of his great love! When he refers to it, even unconsciously, as a “madness”. The feeling of relief engendered by such an awakening may lead one to believe in all sincerity that he has regained his freedom. But at what price! What a poverty-stricken sort of freedom. Is it not a calamity to gaze once again upon the world with everyday sight, everyday wisdom? Is it not heartbreaking to find oneself surrounded by beings who are familiar and commonplace? Is it not frightening to think that one must carry on, as they say, but with stones in one’s belly and gravel in one’s mouth? To find ashes, nothing but ashes, where once were blazing suns, wonders, glories, wonders upon wonders, glory beyond glory, and all freely created as from some magic fount?

If there is anything which deserves to be called miraculous, is it not love? What other power, what other mysterious force is there which can invest life with such undeniable splendour?

And it’s so true. The craziness that took over my life last week may have been unnerving because I seemed to have so little control over my own feelings, yet I felt thrillingly alive because of it. I had vivid dreams, and walked through the world on a tiny little roller-skate-shaped clouds, and everything was intense, humming and wonderful. I wanted to ravish the world, and it seemed to want me back.

The return to sanity is, in a way, the end of magic.

goodbye, winter...

The dry wintery weather may be gone for good, I think. Up at 5 this morning, waiting for the sunrise, which never quite blazed forth. Instead, a milky light broke wanly from underneath a long, smoke-dark cloud that stretched across the harbour, and a windless hush came over the water. It started to drizzle soon after that, and went on for about an hour. The air smelled of wet leaves and watermelon. Don’t ask me why the sea sometimes smells like watermelon, it just does, okay? Trust me.

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10 thoughts on “Star of the Sea

  1. A beautiful star and an insightful post.
    Great quote too!

    “…To find ashes, nothing but ashes, where once were blazing suns, wonders, glories, wonders upon wonders, glory beyond glory…”

    To give up all our mania would be too much to bear!
    I was effected by some strange force last week also! My rides to and from work were filled with Euphoria! Each day I stopped for 15 or 20 minutes to sit in a quiet space in the bush. My heart pounding with the wonder and glory of life… Living.
    My head was swimming with unrealised dreams… but not regret.
    Each day I fell into a kind of trance and could only smile. What was funny was I found myself smiling at people and they smiled back. Even some hero who cut me off in the traffic and nearly killed me! I just gave him a big broad smile. Ha!

    I think they medicate people for confessing feelings like that…
    What a waste of creative energy! LOL!

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    1. Thanks, Dave! I have been enjoying Miller’s grand, symphonic language a lot, he has some gorgeous passages.
      You too, huh? I know of quite a few people who felt the pull of the moon strongly last week. When you think about it, how can we not be affected by the moon? When the entire harbour goes rushing in and out, from 0.6 meters to 7 meters in just 6 hours at Spring Tide, all that sea moving as though possessed…it’s hardly surprising that measly human beings will feel the forces as well.
      Madness is the mark of the divine, in many cultures…the hand of God upon your brow. It can be wonderful, in short bursts, but I am not brave enough to allow it to take over my life. I’m just glad it still happens once in a while, a period of grace. 🙂

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  2. ahh Nat, it seems the change of the seasons does strange things….must be the pull of the moon.
    We have a small very old boat which was my father-in-laws and her name is Stella Maris….He studied to be a catholic preist for 7yrs before being called home to help when his brother was lost to Changi in the war….went on to have 7 children and was an avid fisherman on the glenelg river in his Stella Maris.

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    1. A beautiful name for a boat, Shazz. I am immune to most rhapsodies of the Catholic faith, but I must confess an affection for the term Stella Maris, first heard in Latin vespers at my convent high school. The words are beautiful, and the image,too. There is also a rare conus shell called the Gloria Maris, or Glory of the Sea, which I associate with this name. It’s was quite valuable at one time, and at an 18th-century auction in Amsterdam, Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter sold for about one-third the amount that its owner spent to obtain a then rare Conus gloriamaris shell. Just a bit of trivia for you! 😉

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