Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Longing

I’m thinking in terms of hours now. Forty-eight of them. Exactly two days until I’ll be heading out to the airport to catch my 8:30 am flight to Honolulu. My carry-on is packed, my dining room table is piled high—if chaotically—with everything that will go into my main suitcase. Books have been boxed and addressed. Things that I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find there have been ordered over the internet for shipping to Molokai. Tour books are ready, camera batteries charged, most errands run, friends said goodbye to. Everything just about ready… except maybe me.

The butterflies have flown the coop, to be replaced by a bit of a war zone. The how can you possibly leave for three months on some tiny island away from daughters, family, Jasper, all that is known, did I mention daughters? versus the yes! three glorious months of rest and solitude team. It’s like a tug-of-war with near perfectly matched sides. Picture it. One side gets the advantage—but only just barely—then the other side takes over—again, barely, and back and forth, the flag in the middle moving mere inches at a time, in fact, not much movement is happening at all, and won’t, until one side either gets overly exhausted or slips in the mud or finds some reserve they didn’t know they had that unleashes a sudden burst of superhuman strength.

I’m hoping for the latter. And I’m rooting for the three glorious months side. Because the truth is, I have longed for just such a retreat for years, I mean years, since long ago reading May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, among others. Long before I knew my marriage would end, eons before my life took on a life of its own and landed me on some planet other than the one I thought I’d peacefully inhabit for the rest of my given years, I’ve been captivated by women who go off on their own and embrace the adventure of solitude. Not adventure as in sailing around the world alone, though there’s a lot to be said for that. For me it’s been more the yearning for the time and the space, the quiet solitude necessary to meet myself full on, to connect with myself on a much deeper level than everyday life affords, to come home to myself as fully as possible, and in a way that is not necessarily something we are ever encouraged to do in our culture, or even necessarily know is possible. To put aside everything that I habitually use to distract, comfort—and ultimately neglect—myself and commune with me and with life as much as possible, exclusively would be nice, through heart, soul, and spirit.

It’s a tall order, I know. Maybe even a bit of a fantasyland. Though I hope not. And what better place to engage in the work, the art really, of making fantasy real than a beautiful little island in the middle of many beautiful islands in the middle of the grand Pacific Ocean.

Oh, and by the way, pacific means "conciliatory, peaceable, calm, tranquil, having a soothing effect." Hmm… auspicious.

Forty-eight hours and twenty-five minutes til my flight is scheduled to depart...

Oh, and by the way... again, I am feeling the faint but unmistakeable flutter of wings in the belly; the little white flag flapping in the breeze and edging ever so slightly, I'm pretty sure anyway, toward the favored team.

Aloha for now.

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