Seeing as how it's July Third, I've been thinking about Independence, and Freedom.
I would like to dedicate this post to Freedom. True, Deep-Down Freedom.
Whoa! The keyboard is so dusty I can barely see the letters! Ha! Enough of that. It's been over a year. Here I am.
Wanted to share an experience. We spent a week on Ocracoke Island, getting cleansed by the sun and scoured by the salty waves. After about a week, my cares had finally drifted away. Our little familia packed a picnic and found a secluded beach spot for sunset. By secluded, I mean: we didn't see a n y o n e for as far as we could see on either side, and rarely a car drove by beyond the dune path we hiked to get to our picnic spot. (This, by the way, did not seem hard to do on Ocracoke ~ even on close to the busiest week of the year! Highly recommend.) After the dinner of roasted root veggies, sautéed snap peas and meatballs, sweet Sealion and the girl ran off to play and I was left to my own thoughts and lingering meal (to this day I'm the slowest eater I know). When I got out of my own cares enough to look at them again, they were buck naked and dancing around in the surf! If you know my family well at all, you know this is not surprising. Really the only surprise is how much privacy we felt in our little slice of beach heaven. I was contented for a long while to spectate on their naked shenanigans ~ hunkering down on their bellies and letting the waves scoot them forward with a wooosh! (She adorably had her floatie life vest-wing combo on. Period.) They continued playing for quite a while. As I finished my last morsels, I thought, "I guess I could pack us up; the sun is setting." And then I realized: when's the next time you'll have the opportunity for naked ocean frolicking?? I didn't know the answer to that. And if you know me well, you also will know that any activity is better done naked. It's not just for kicks that I crave nudity, and I surely don't have to be drunk to bare it all; my urge is primal, and it goes way deeper than exhibitionism or drunken thrill-seeking. I quickly stripped my sundress (because along with that primal urge for nakedness, I wear undergarments as infrequently as I can get away with. In Oregon this was so easy; the social climate of the Southeast makes it much more of a challenge for me). I dashed to join my family in the waning sun. They were thrilled that I joined. We danced in the surf holding hands and sang Ring Around the Rosie, timing our "all fall DOWN!" for when a foamy wave came and bathed our lowered tushies in the warm water. Soon we ran back to our picnic spot to towel off. The tide was rising and would soon be teasing our stuff out to sea, and the sun's last rosy light was fading from the western horizon. It was time to pack up. The breezy air was also unusually chilly. We thought for sure we would be covered in goose-bumps once we emerged from the water. But we weren't. Within a moment, I tossed my towel and was back in the surf. Wanted to seize the opportunity for all it was worth. I called to Sealion to take my photo. Not so I could post it on Facebook or Instagram, but so I would have the photo to remember my experience.
look at that bright white full moon! hahaha!
Here's what I wrote in my journal the morning after:
I was self-aware enough to realize I wanted him to take a photo, while at the same time telling myself: live the experience; don't simply pose for the picture. Be Here Now in this water. Do what you always dream of doing. But really live. Don't do what you've seen other people do, or what you think people ought to do. Feel into it. Be Here Now.
For a moment my attention and identity got lost in the waves that were darkening with the disappearing sunset. the ocean was beckoning me, mesmerizing me like a dark siren. I imagined all the animals emerging with the darkness, and simultaneously desired to give myself to them. To give myself to Her. All that in an instant. I felt the warm Mama water on my yoni hair and yoni. Inner thighs and lower tummy. All the "naughty" parts were getting loved on and bathed and splashed just like they always want to be. Just like they truly should be. Seaweed swirling rushing by and gently wrapping around and caressing my legs and arms as I crouched.
Soak it in. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. I didn't want to let it go, yet felt ok getting out, letting the moment be a moment and have a closure, drying off, clothing, joining my family, departing.
I am not merely posing my life for the camera. I'm not living to tell about it. I'm living for Life.
The social media phenomenon has been an interesting one for me ~ starting with this blog, TEN YEARS ago. Cameras and phones have come so far. It's so easy to snap a shot. To share with friends, and even with not-friends. My intimate moment shared with no one but me (and my sweet family on-looking) can instantaneously be a public moment. Really, though, I experienced this existential conundrum even before I had a cellphone, at least fifteen years before I joined Facebook. When I was an English major, with a Creative Writing focus. I noticed I had a little narrator in my head who was describing what I was doing as I did it ~ so I could write about it later. !!! When I noticed this, I vowed to live my life for the living of it, and not simply so I would produce writing worth reading. This is a touchy and nuanced idea. But I think what I was trying to get at is just that: Be Here Now. BE here now. Live here now. Feel here now. Not viewing it through a narrator's description, or peeking through the viewfinder of a phone, dammit. If I were never to have the capability to take another photo (Goddess forbid!), or write another narrative word (even more!), may I live each moment with my whole being. As if it were my last. Not living to tell about it. Living for Life.
I'm not judging people for being on Facebook. I have found a whole lot of value there. And still do. I cherish the sharing and connection I find there. I like looking at photos of friends' kids. And surely I'm not saying we shouldn't write about our lives. Good writing brings me willingly to my knees time and again. Good writing (and art in general) can also live into experiences when we can't ~ when, for sanity's sake or simple survival, we must check out in the present moment (as my highly revered poet teacher James Baker Hall emphasized time and again). But I don't want these ways of sharing to take the place of my experiencing the actual moments of life. "Pics or it didn't happen" just isn't the case. Sometimes the pics happen, but our minds and hearts are far from IN the moment.]