28 January 2011

use your words

Living "down the street" from the ocean and being literally surrounded by it for so long has inevitably led me to draw parallels and analogies from it's constant presence. There's a wave for every emotion.

Yes, I really make these sorts of personal comparisons. And I love it. Eat your heart out transcendentalists!

But really, most days are a calm, flat summer in Oahu for me. The occasional rolling tide of excitement or random upset. All is crystal clear and promising.

I think we all have our choppy days-- murky water and ugly breaks. No one wants to get in and frolic around with you because you're hard to be with and too much work.

I'm never a gigantic, angry tsunami. My in-laws might disagree after living with me as we waited for our place to be built and I figured out how to manage two very young children in cramped quarters all together all the time. My bouts of anger are brooding and simmering, but quickly crash, devastating all in my wake until a gentle tide brushes everyone away, only to gather those who wish to remain safely in for a smaller set until peace remains.

But today I felt out of sync all day. There was no gentle pull and exhilarating crash. No give and take. No patterned tide to ride out until calmer waters returned once more. My children floated along, helpless to my crash, eager to return to rhythmic tides.

I was too.

So I paddled along remembered courses. Cuddle everyone up with a favorite movie, draw with chalk outside, clear the main room of clutter... but still uncertain waters billowed all around as the swirling, insistent current surged and tugged around me. Treading water at this point, I commanded my ship and drove the little ones far away for a day out. Stroke by stroke we paddled through familiar places and sailed on carefully. Safety on the horizon.

Until the drive home got too long and Ambrose's persistent requests to go to the beach became too many. Even though it was almost dinnertime I pulled off at Kekela where we drew a long, winding track in the sand with the heel of our slippers. It was getting cooler and the salt air was crispy on our faces as we finished creating the course. With the waves roaring on our right, as if cheering us on, I loaded Asher on my back like cargo, Ambrose held tightly to my left hand and we ran and we ran and we ran. Soles padding, faces laughing, heart pumping in and out-- gentle pull and exhilarating crash.

Asher's tiny arms still clung tightly around my neck as I sunk down into the sand, my legs alive from the race, and breathed heavily with relief. Ambrose grabbed my face in both his hands and exclaimed, "I win! I want to go camping with you! Let's invite dad! I want to race again!" He was happy and babbling every free associated thought that occurred to him in an excited sequence that matched my relief. Asher, cuddled up on my back like a little sea lion with his mama, giggled in my ear and kissed my cheek and the rhythm of the waves echoed in our ears as we brushed off the sand and headed for home.
The archetypal burst, in force.


KristenE. said...

love it! you are amazing =)

Patria said...

ahhhh! I am so glad you do use your words. How refreshing to read great writing- I think it's SO easy in the blog world to fall into sound bites and this piece is written BEAUTIFULLY. And to think you neglected the common blog writing styles. not. even. once. did you use those annoying devices that I'm OVERUSING in this comment. (;

Also, I am listening to audio version of Born to Run and enjoying it as well!

Love you Stephanie!

Rach said...

Very nice. I like a good analogy. I am totally feeling the same way & I need to just go run & play with the kiddos. What a great example you are.

PS:love the picture. Can I have my mom paint that for me? Did Tom take that?

stephanie joy said...

Yes Rach- It is a Thomas Robertson and we would be so honored if your Mama painted it! She's brilliant (like you).

Kristen- We need to spend more quality time before you head back!

Patria- That.bugs.me.too. :) We need another beach run together!

The Tesimales said...

So beautiful. And I agree, it's nice to see something written so well without breaking any grammar rules. A girl of my heart. (Oops I just broke one, actually two now that I look back ha). It's funny because I feel like I have a lot of the same emotions that you write about so eloquently, and my solution is the same: get outside and get moving. It works everytime. Beautiful writing.

liko said...

so so wonderful.
perfectly put.
so eloquent, and yes, you sure do know how to use your words, woman.


Anna K. said...

Oh Stephanie you make me want to write! Inspirational! Have you read this article? http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/01/15/feminist_obsessed_with_mormon_blogs

When I first read it I thought of you and your lovely life. I thought it was a cool article.

sheila said...

you are very good with words.

Aaaand. come over to our house this week.

I feel the need for some Valentine cookies. (but we don't need treats as a reason to get together... but it'd be fun)
but come!

star said...

Oh my dear friend, this was beyond lovely. My comment can't really express how much I enjoyed reading this.