I’m sitting on the porch watching the way the waves swirl around the rocks as the tide comes in. The larger, protruding ones became an island ages ago and now the smaller rocks closer to shore get alternately covered and revealed with each heaving breath of this living mass that is the ocean. I was walking along those rocks earlier today. My morning adventures took me down the stone steps to the shoreline where I’d been told if I followed it towards town I’d make it to a park.
I scavenged and hunted along, revelling in the shells and creatures I found. A tiny crab finding shelter in an intact clam shell, snails slugging along. “I’m at the freaking ocean!” I kept internally exclaiming. If my eyes couldn’t confirm this fact my nose sure could. The rains from the last few days have settled opening to a sunny and warm day. With the clouds allowing the canopy of the sky to be exposed the true scent of the place wafts through the air, mingling with the lilacs: salt water. Salt water and all the masses of life that call the briny stuff home.
In the early morning hours I’d awoken to the clouds just beginning their retreat from the sea. The Eastern sky was ablaze with fiery red indicating the birth of a new day. The sun itself had already floated up into the slowly receding clouds leaving a thick band hovering above the ocean to boast its temporary stunning outfit. A magnificent ocean sunrise.
Just how is it that I can be in this place? I sat at the table this morning, nursing my toast, wondering if there would have been any way that I could have guessed this life up for myself even a year ago. A leisurely meal after a hatha session on the porch with a panoramic view of the ocean. Nope, I didn’t think this would be in my cards.
A few years ago a friend recounted a story of walking into a Starbucks with a good friend of theirs. It doesn’t matter that it was a Starbucks. It could have been any type of store. They walked in and the friend looked over and said, “You know how they made this place? With a blueprint. There’s no way anything’s going to be made if there isn’t a plan so what’s the blueprint for your life?”
The person recounting this story to me does in fact have a clear plan – he did at the time and he continues to live it now. In fact, part of our interactions included writing out our goals, personal and professional, and opening them later to see what had emerged. How are we to get anywhere unless there is a plan involved? I’m not always so lucky that my plan includes blissful ocean-side time. Though as much as I’m surprised at the magnitude of how awesome it is here, I do know that I thoughtfully included this possibility into my life and took the appropriate steps to get me here. Yet only a relatively little time ago I had absolutely no idea this would even be a possibility. I didn’t know I’d be a short jaunt out of one of the most sought-after vacation spots in New England.
My walk this morning took me along the beach and into town. Naturally, as there is in a place like this all over the world, the town is dotted with souvenir shops and eclectic bistros with scads of tourists flanking the streets. Well, it’s not even yet mid-June, they aren’t quite flanking the streets yet but they sure are present. It was actually a little much for me and I ducked into a visual arts gallery. The used book shop that had been pointed out to me last night in a much less populated jaunt into town was closed. I was disappointed. The stacks of books lining the windows of the second story shop were just waiting for me to rifle through them. As I didn’t immediately find any sign indicating hours of operation I simply turned around and meandered towards the harbour, eventually finding my way into the peace of a singly staffed gallery.
The plan had, in effect, been the bookshop. But that was just the very small vision of the morning walk. There are many layers of plans that exist and co-exist simultaneously. What can be said about all of those plans?
It is through deliberation and action that events make their way into the fabric of our lives. This is both a freeing and a chaining thought. With reflection and action I can create exactly what it is that I want for myself and my life. Yet the responsibility is profound. No one else can do it for me. Like the people directing the myriad of boats wafting past my view, I am the captain of my ship. I am held in this space in order to create and enact my plans.
One thought on “Plans”
William Earnest Henley, 1875
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever God may be,
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not cried nor winced aloud,
Under the bludgeoning of chance,
My head is bloody but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the captain of my fate,
I am the master of my soul.