Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Water, water everywhere

Water seems to be an active subject sloshing around in my brain for a week or so - a little odd, I think. So it goes - I've been reading Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" and wrote a post about that last Thursday - post and quote about the "muddy river of the mind." From my poetry study of late comes - "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - Samuel Taylor Coleridge with these lines -

Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

Then with interest in a nephew's read and "take" on a book I've read before, I picked up a used "Life of Pi" and finished that off today.

If any of you have ever read Pi, you'll remember it's a fictional tale about a young East Indian teen being thrown from a sinking ship, and his subsequent fight for survival in a lifeboat for 277 days. Those days and the story of them were well crafted by author, Yann Martel. Crafted and suspenseful right up until the very last page......lots of water.

On March 26, after reading well into the Pi book, I saw an AP press release - a harrowing story of the ship, Alaska Ranger, having sunk in the Bering Sea, while dispatching 47 crew members into the icy water....fortunately, not prior to the ship's MAYDAY call. The Coast Guard and others performed the life-threatening and blessed award-winning job of rushing to the scene and managing to rescue 43 of 47 crew members who were left afloat, lifeboat bound, on high seas. Reading Yann Martel's fictional story of Pi gave me a vivid image of the crew of the actual Ranger being tossed unmercifully into the sea; unlike Pi their chances for survival were based upon their training for hypothermia conditions, immediate access to lifeboats and their MAYDAY being answered quickly by their saviors - the US Coast Guard.

My "muddy river" of a mind was very actively participating in these watery events in relation to each other and my night time dreaming* was filled with those watery episodes.

I'm thinking now that there was no reason for these events particularly to come together at approximately the same time in my mind*, but they did. Pi, a fictional everyday person, minding his everyday life on an ocean voyage, being thrust into the sea and becoming a survival "hero; actual men engaged in their livelihood and thrown into the sea where their training and wit kept them alive until the men of the Coast Guard could arrive and become heroes in their own right - performing as they had been trained to act, to save persons at risk in the sea. Miraculously, the Coast Guard was able to save all but 4 of the Alaska Ranger crewmen.

O.k. here comes the reflection - you know I always have one - so we are all everyday people, minding our own business (mostly) but often thrown into a sea we would rather not have encountered; a sea we are certain is not of our own divining. Are we capable of catching the rescue rope thrown to us, do we remember to grab a life jacket of some kind prior to the dunk, are we willing to let strangers or even loved ones save us? Are we ready to let God save us? Are we willing to stay in the water, to hoist ourselves painfully into the lifeboat and/or just die of the heat or of the cold with no effort on our part to keep ourselves alive? Or do we take our spiritual soul and use that entity as our jacket, our mast, our rudder, our anchor or our sail - whatever use seems appropriate at the time? Oh, yeah, it's corny but ponder it - I have been. And pick up a used copy of the "The Life of Pi" - it's an adventure!

*In "Dreams - God's Forgotten Language" by John A. Sanford (retired Episcopal priest) - Mr. Sanford, a student of Dr. Carl Jung's teachings in regard to dreams and dreaming - states in his chapter on The Nature and Structure of Dreams "Dreams are primarily about the personality of the dreamer; they are not about external matters except as they relate to that personality. Now there are exceptions, but they are rare; and we can say as a general rule that every dream is about the dreamer,the dreamer's problems, and the dreamer's relationship to self and world."

MMMMMMM, very interesting! Maybe you'd like to read a little of Mr. Sanford also.

photo - Sunrise Sister

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