I’ve been pretty consumed with the US election these last few days so decided it might be worthwhile to think about something else for a minute. And where we now live, the way the sun currently sets through our living room window is every bit as compelling – if not more so – than the drama south of the border. But, as spectacularly riveting as those sunsets are, the last two have been vastly different. And that got me to thinking …
Am I a poet or a mariner?
Two nights ago the sky was cloudy. Not overcast, but enough clouds to create an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour above Lake Huron. Each moment was distinctly different from its predecessor. Each vista brought new hues and vibrant variation and the most superb theatre I can imagine. I was mesmerized and energized, running out to the deck every 10 minutes to snap a new memory. The show went on and on and continued to delight until the final glimmer of sundance sank into the sea.
Last night was another story. Clear as that proverbial bell. As a matter of fact, it was the first fully clear night we have experienced since the sun traversed its way into our cinematic window. Man oh man, that giant glowing orange ball did not disappoint! It blazed with passionate intensity. It heated up the heavens like a bonfire in July. Its celestial inferno demanded all eyes and every attention, so scorching was its incandescence. It was fucking amazing.
For about 15 minutes.
Then it was over and it just got dark.
That is what got me thinking. You see, all that combustible glory was indeed … glorious. But it was also short-lived. The night before was shaded with innuendo. The clouds were mercurial. From one minute to the next you just didn’t know what might develop. Modulate. Transform. It went on and on and on. These moments were filled with wonder, astonishment, incredulity and gratitude. On. And on.
The mariner will always choose a clear sky. When the stars shine brightly smoother navigation is assured. The simplicity of an orange ball dipping into the horizon brings solid, easy closure to the day. The mariner is pragmatic. The mariner will take brief beauty and almost certain invulnerability over anything else.
Then there is the poet. Unlike the mariner, the poet typically does not need to survive the vagaries of the natural world. Yes, the poet will have a difficult time earning a living, putting food on the table and a roof over her head. But the poet dreams anyway, with pen in hand and (hopefully) a warm fire crackling. So when the poet sees the clouds, and the changes, and the vagaries of the sky, the poet is entranced. Because the poet understands that those clouds represent pain. Potential pain at the very least. There is no security in those clouds. Those colours change as quickly as a woman’s heart. That sky is as unpredictable as love itself. And as beautiful. The poet is both transfixed by the artistry and disturbed by the vicissitude. Enchanted by the spectacle and tormented by the intensity.
The poet not only accepts all of this, the poet welcomes it. The poet will take kaleidoscope over orange ball every day of the week.
Well, maybe not EVERY day. But most days.
So I ask again. Are you a poet or a mariner?
Take your time to decide. I’m pretty sure the election can wait.