Monday, September 10, 2012

red, right, returning

When learning to sail, we are taught some easy ways to help us remember how to navigate, such as the little mnemonic that is this post's title. 

When returning from sea, keep the red channel markers on your right...  pretty simple.  Get yourself home safely.

I've been thinking a lot about home, the elusive place or feeling that home is to me, a moving target for as long as I can remember.  How to get there?  Where are the channel markers?  By which acts of God or man do I navigate to get myself there?

Sometimes all we have are memories, or little tastes of ourselves that we've almost forgotten.  What makes me who I am?  Is that home?  Is this how I find my way?

Tonight I re-discovered an old, old hardbound collection of e.e. cummings and within it, i found this letter that he wrote to one of his people (lovers?).  This feels a bit like home to me (punctuation oddities his, not mine):

you and I are not snobs.  We can never be born enough.  We are human beings; for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery, the mystery of growing; the mystery which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves.  You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming.  Life, for eternal us, is now; and now is much too busy being a little more than everything to seem anything, catastrophic included. ...
.... Miracles are to come.  With you I leave a remembrance of miracles:  they are by somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn, a human being; somebody who said to those near him, when his fingers would not hold a brush, "tie it into my hand--"

Also, this poem, one of my all-time favorites of his, feels like home too:

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

(for my dearest, dearest friend whose companionship made Newport feel like home when I was there, and whom I miss terribly--
the surfer, sailor, artist, yogi and barefoot runner Ryan Leboss)


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