This is your blog. This is your blog on cold meds. Stop typing. Just walk away from the keyboard, and everything will be okay.
From experience, I knew what to do. Write. Write anything. Bad sentences, meaningless sentences, anything to get the mind fixed again to that sheet of paper and oblivious of the 'real' world. Write until the words begin to make sense, the cogs mesh, the wheels start to turn, the creaking movement quickens and becomes a smooth, oiled run, and then, with luck, exhaustion will be forgotten, and the real writing will begin. but look up once from that paper, get up from the table to make coffe ors tir the fire, even just raise your head to look at the view outside the window, and you may as well give up until tomorrow. Or for ever.
(Mary Stewart, The Stormy Kestrel. Which I read despite the fact that it had no selkies in it. I want a story with selkies now. I was about half the way through the book, when I realized, nothing really interesting is going to happen in this story. But I finished reading the book anyway. The language of the book was very fine. Selkies would have made it a wonderful story.)
And so I'm writing. Not a story about selkies. Though that is where at least some of my thoughts are now. What gift would a young woman ask for from her selkie lover? Would a small bag of gold change her life? Where would a young woman go from there, do from there? What happens to the young woman after the selkie has returned, left his bag of gold, taken his child, and returned to the sea? Does she take her gold and head away from her small sea village to another town? What does she do there? Does she stay in her village? Grow an herb garden? Become a midwife, always aiding in others births but never having her own family? Or does the village turn its face away from the nine months of her unexplained pregnancy, the year of the small babe at her breasts, the sudden absence of the child? Do they accept her story of a selkie, and accept her back into their fellowship as if nothing had happened? Where does the woman go? What becomse of her? Does she wander down to the sea sometimes, watching the seals afar in the waves, wondering?
He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. (Luke 5:2)
Washing their nets. This is the image that stuck with me from Sunday. Washing their nets. Mentioned in the sermon, a minor point in the opening. The nets could represent their talents, their skills. They need cleaned, nurtured, strengthened, repaired. Too often we all think, or at least I think, I should just be able to *do*. I don't want to take the time to maintain, to practice, to work hard at the routine aspects of life. I want to be able to just do. Our hearts too are woven into our nets. Each time we cast them out, it is our heart strings that hold them together. The cinch string that circles them and makes them effective our own self, our emotions, our hopes, our dreams, our desires. If the nets had none of us in them, they would only be a tangle of line set a drift in the sea. Useless and formless and purposeless. It is what they hold of our inner selves that makes them functional. Allows them to be filled with purpose. Is that not what we throw our nets out to catch? Purpose? Fulfillment? Meaning in our lives.
But with this meaning, we snag other things as well. Things we did not intend to catch. At the end of the day, we empty our nets of the desired, and find that trapped amongst the strings is...well, we turn our faces away from that part, crinckle our noses, ignore its reek. For some of what gets caught in our nets, I think, is less than pleasant. The grime, the goop, the rotted seaweed, and half decayed bits of worse things as well. And no one wants to touch it to clean the nets. Easier to let our nets sit in their smelly piles, and ignore them, cease to use them. No one wants to kneel on the pebbled shore on a sunny day washing their nets in the surf. Less still do we want to do so on a cold, wet, windy day.
So their the nets sit. And we go hungry. And when we become desperate enough, we pull the nets back out, and are appalled at the condition they are in. We remember the time we stood at the prow of the boat, casting a crisp, new net into a sparkling sea. We remember the graceful arc the net made as it spun out over the water. We remember the sweet spash it made slipping into the waves. We remember how we felt when we cast the net, the day was good, the fishing was abundant, and we were successful.
But we are hungry now. We take the net back out. Smelly and tattered though it is. We toss it, though it does not spin and it plops rather than splashes. And what it catches, if it catches anything, is meager and not enought to fill us. And we think we have lost our touch as fishers. We think the problem is in us. Perhaps we even think that we have misremembered the earlier days. Was it all in our imaginations? Or have we just lost our gifts? Which is the less painful explaination to believe?
And we crumple our nets up and leave them. And we learn to go hungry.
Or maybe we take the ugly path of washing the nets. Repairing them. Mending them. Smelly, finger aching process though it is. Because we do remember what it was like to fish. And the fishing was good. And all the nets need are a little attention.