The Rose--Waiting for Wisdom
25 April 2015 | Horseshoe Bay, Matagi Island, Fiji
Dear Friends, 03 May 2015 Vaka vukuThe way of wisdom
One of many lessons I am apparently doomed to practice repeatedly in this life has to do with the balance between waiting for wisdom and making things happen. While I am waiting for the wisdom to appear I try to keep my mind quiet and notice what comes but of course actually my mind is very busy and very clever in the way of making me believe that perhaps it has the sought after insights already in hand. By nature, I am usually more than ready to jump up and act on these thoughts which may be true wisdom or something else masquerading as such. And since the nature of these thoughts is almost never actually clear to me, I try to sit and wait a little bit longer hoping to become sure. But what I usually become sure of is that one could sit around and wait forever and never make anything happen and perhaps just watch life pass on by missing every opportunity to make a difference or become the master of one's own destiny. At this point I am reminded of a quote," And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom." Anais Nin. So then I act. But having been through this process a myriad of times, after I act, I watch to see what happens and what I can learn from it. And yet all of this remains for me an enigma. How to chart a better path through it all eludes me. Perhaps I must just accept whatever happens as the perfect outcome and seek to appreciate that perfection--Not to nullify my own ability to effect outcome but rather to accept without judgment the ultimate complexity of interacting elements.
Twice this week I was reminded to be quiet and wait for the wisdom. John and I found a wonderful secluded blown out caldera anchorage between two small islands, Qamea and Laucala, on the eastern side of Fiji. It is actually the caldera which separates the two islands which presumably were once long ago one big volcano. The caldera is large and blown out narrowly on two sides allowing some tidal flow but also creating a deep and well protected lagoon. The area is almost completely uninhabited except for a village on the western shore discreetly tucked into the jungle foliage. We were anchored along the eastern shore where the caldera wall is steep and thickly covered by trees and vines hosting an abundance of wildlife which earned the anchorage the name "Jurassic Park" because of the odd trills and grunts emanating from the unseen creatures inhabiting the nearby shore but completely obscured by the overgrowth. We were the only boat in the bay and we luxuriated in the relaxing privacy of our new-found Eden for several days. Outside the bay the wind was blowing solidly over 20 knots and the swells were whipping the reef line white. We enjoyed the fresh wind as it swooped up and over the caldera lip and then accelerated back down to the water's surface and our boat while the swell was completely subdued by the surrounding reef.
After several relaxing days soaking in the beauty of it all, I felt the need for some exercise and suggested we swim the quarter mile to the mangrove shoreline and back. John paused thoughtfully. I smothered my impatience and breathed. We were sitting in the cockpit playing cribbage. It was later in the day than I usually swim but there was plenty of light. Just then as John opened his mouth to reply, we heard a swish and a splash in the water and both turned just in time to see a mid-size shark charging powerfully and purposefully on the surface straight toward our boat. Of course our boat is high enough that we were in no danger but it was strikingly odd behavior for a shark. He may have been making a dash for fish on the surface though we didn't see any. The water was deep and not particularly close to the shallows so it was odd he was in the area at all let alone at the surface. I broke into a grin as John quickly replied that he wasn't actually much in the mood for a swim at that moment. Neither was I any longer. But I did chuckle to think that in another minute or two I probably would have impatiently dived into the water and started my swim alone even though the water was a bit murky and the light a bit shadowed and then what a different scene would have ensued when John, watching from the cockpit, noticed the odd behavior of the shark on one side of the boat and me swimming a short distance away on the other.
The next day, rather than swimming I thought I might go for a row in the dinghy. It was breezy but I thought the mangroves along the concave curve of shoreline were probably sheltered enough for a nice exploration. I asked John if he wanted to go for a dinghy ride and do a bit of exploring and he paused a moment to think. Just then a blast of wind descended from the caldera lip hitting the boat at over 25 knots and sustaining its force for several minutes. A raincloud hitched a ride and slipped into place directly over us dumping down sheets of windblown rain. I decided the message was pretty clear that I needed to stop doing and start listening. So I went back to my book and a couple more days passed uneventfully.
This morning I carefully and timidly suggested perhaps we had been relaxing in this beautiful bay long enough and since we were unlikely either to row or dive here, it might be nice to sail to another bit of heaven nearby where I knew the snorkeling was good and where we had last year thought it would be interesting to explore some coral crevices with SCUBA gear. The weather was calling for strong wind all week but this afternoon, in addition, the rain was supposed to set in for a couple days. The area we intended to sail through is strewn with reef which requires good light to visualize and thereby avoid becoming a shipwreck icon on the chart or having a reef named in one's honor. Though the grey clouds were starting to move in and pile up, the light was still good enough, but if we didn't leave now, we would be unable to leave until the rain stopped and the skies cleared a bit which would mean at least two days. I thought I could enjoy rain today if I had already been for a lovely and spirited sail and I thought I could continue my enjoyment through tomorrow if I knew great diving was waiting for sunshine tomorrow afternoon. Still it seemed odd to strike out into the howling wind from our protected anchorage. We were lazy and tempted to stay, and, punchy as I was from my previous experiences I was watchful and cautious. We each invented several excuses to stay before finally we decided to go.
It was a beautiful sail with sunlight and grey and lively wave action on the reef churning and crashing and aerosolizing into vapor and falling back to liquid. The wind was strong and behind us most of the way and we rode the swells that lifted us gently forward as the sails pulled us briskly along. Though the grey rain clouds continued to thicken, we seemed to have our own sunbeam following us like a spotlight and illuminating the reefs in pale turquoise so we could pick our way through without concern.
The wind intensified at the entrance to the little horse shoe shaped bay I had in mind and we thought perhaps we had been mistaken in our endeavor. Wind waves were making quite a tantrum on the point and the wind was right on our nose and blowing in the high 20's with unpredictable roaring gusts known as "williwaws" from several different directions. As soon as we passed inside the entrance, however, the sea calmed. We quickly found a place to anchor and just as I finished attaching the bridle and buttoning up the windlass, the rain descended on us giving the boat-- and me and the sea turtle who swam over to welcome us --a nice fresh water rinse.
We are all tucked in now and yes it is raining and will most likely continue raining tomorrow but we are enjoying the showers as background to our book reading. And after that some lovely diving is on the schedule. So you see, it's hard to know when to wait and when to make it happen. And though the timing worked to our advantage on all the scenarios I have just conveyed, I have no idea how to ensure that next time. Sometimes life is like walking through a candy store while other times it is a mine field. It's just hard to know. But one thing that is clear to me is that each of these tiniest of decisions can change everything in ways we don't even consider and cannot foresee at the time and may never understand. Yet if we are to progress, we must make the decisions in faith and move on, witnessing our ever evolving destinies as they continue to take shape.
And for now¬....All is well. Pat and John s/v The Rose, Horseshoe Bay, Matagi Island.