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.
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.
- Whatever You Call Them, Starfish (or Sea Stars) Are Quite Amazing (seashellsbymillhill.wordpress.com)
- The Sea: a photographic celebration of the first wonder of the world (telegraph.co.uk)
- A Town Lost to the Sea- Wonderful Town -Film (hikikomoiegaku.com)