"Flirting in the sun"

The title of this post is a quote from "The Blue Planet", and it describes the behavior of pilot whales, traveling in a pod, on their way to their breeding grounds in the Mediterranean Sea.

It made me think about life, my life, what I've done - what I HAVEN'T done - and whether I've done anything to make it better for those who come after.

It's so easy to allow oneself to be lost in the multitude, to float along, "flirting in the sun", so to speak, but never breaking the surface, never making a splash. We get lost in our jobs and in the swirl of family and social life, completely focused on our 'concerns'. We seldom stop to consider who and what we really are, where we came from, and where we, as a race, are going.

We are animals. We are made of the same stuff that every other creature on this planet is made of and from. The shape and form of our bodies are drawn on the same blueprint material that every other living thing on this planet uses. It speaks to how closely related to everything living on this planet that we, people, are. Yet, some of us live and consume and pollute as if we had no idea what we were doing to ourselves, our children, our cousins and our planet.

We come from all those 'lower' animals. The same star that blew up billions of years ago and caused a gas cloud to collapse and our solar system to form, fed our proto system with the more complex elements it would need to make planets and moons and living creatures, that same star gave all of them life, as it did us. Everything you see feel touch taste smell drink eat and throw away was made inside that same star.

It's almost as if there are two things to face. Let your mind's eye contemplate the beauty, the vastness, the strangeness of space. Spend some time looking, truly looking at Hubble's pictures of the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. Know and understand that once upon a time, that's what WE came from. That's what WE looked like before we became a solar system. Before. That's HOME.

Then turn your mind's eye to consider home and family and work and houses and cars and trips to the grocery store and credit card bills and you begin to see why we don't look UP as much as we should.

No one wants to realize just how small we all are. And insignificant. When we look UP and OUT, we see. When we look the other way, everything is the same size we are - and it's an easier place to be.

So I consider my life. I know I've been floating along, "flirting in the Sun". And I wonder. I wonder if there is something I could have, should have, done, to break the surface. To make a splash. To make it better for those who come after. To help them understand who they are, where they are and came from, and where they need to go - where they need to take this planet full of cousins.

I'm not quite sure how to end this. It's rambled a bit, and I'm not sure I've actually made my point understandable - to me OR you. But it's like this - when I say "Ndinombethe" at the end of my posts, "As I go I am wearing you", it has more meaning to me than you might understand. Than even I understand. Because 'you', sometimes, just sometimes, has a much, much larger meaning.



Nan Sheppard said...

"Fix with your gaze the brightest star,
Speak this aloud to answer its fire:
Star that I was, star that I am,
Star that I will be, my name is Man."

Can't remember who wrote it, but I love it.

Nan Sheppard said...

Valerie Worth!

"Stand then, and tread the living air,
Ascend the vision's open stair;
Passing the planets' silent race,
Rise and mirror the cosmic face-
Infant of galaxies, prodigal sun,
Resume this title: All and One."

Grandmother said...

Lou, Your musings and Nan's poem go together perfectly. We, "this planet of cousins", wear each other as we go. And, we are star stuff: "All and One". You called us to consciousness and choice. I can't speak for your whole life, but the "splash" that you made today broke the surface of my awareness. I thank you.

Kim - Mommycosm said...

It's never too late to break the surface. You're still here... so there is still purpose for your existence. Splash away :)

PattiKen said...

Lou, I'm not even sure how to say this, let alone say it poetically, as "ndinombethe" does. But I have to challenge the assumption that you've just been "flirting in the sun."

There is the basic biological fact of your descendants, one of whom may cure cancer, while another finds clean, plentiful and affordable energy. Who knows what wonders will come because you were.

But that's too easy. You make an impact by virtue of who YOU are now. Through your words, your art, your kindness, all that you are, you change the world simply by being, one moment at a time.

And I'm not talking about the universal "you" here. I'm talking about the "you" reading this through your trifocals.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

While at the beach last week, Ty-man and I saw the "Hubble" IMAX film. It was astounding, all of the images collected by that amazing telescope and when I walked out of the theater, I felt little. Minuscule. I felt like a quark on a grain of sand. Yep. I think we should all be reminded of that on a regular basis. Great post, hon!