Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rainy Sunday morning

Russ and I are up a little before seven; it is raining and we are drinking coffee. The kids are in various stages of waking up, but for now there is mostly quiet. We are talking about our search for meaning, how we want to find who we are and what we were really meant to do on this earth, in this life. I don't want to go to the grave with nothing more but good intentions. We talk about our quest for the direct spiritual experience. Some people seem to find great meaning in going to church services, but that has never done it for either of us. We think what it would be like to belong to a true community of believers, who did not follow any one scripture word for word but opened ourselves to receive the spirit directly. And we would have some incredible bluegrass gospel music at every service.

We talk about how our closest spiritual experiences have been in nature, particularly on beaches. We recall one beach in Mendocino County, California, where we spent a totally unprogrammed day listening to the waves, building driftwood sculptures and using driftwood sticks to drum on the bigger logs. It seems we felt close to God then. We talk about other places, other beaches: Edisto Island in South Carolina, Park Point in Duluth. We talk about our childhood memories of beaches and wild places, Russ in the coastal lowlands of South Carolina at his grandmother's house, I at my grandpa's place on the St. John's River in Florida. I used to walk out on my grandpa's long dock and watch herons, egrets, anhingas, snakes, crabs, and other creatures at the water's edge. The best times were when we would take the boat out; we even saw manatees out in the river.

We talk about fishing, how Russ took it for granted that everyone had a mile long pier on Lake Erie to fish from as a child. He and his buddy used to go out every day and fish for perch; it was within walking distance from their houses. They didn't need an adult to drive them, and it was totally unprogrammed, not "soccer practice at 6 at the humongous complex ten miles away from home".

We talked about travel, how we long to go back to some of these places in our childhood and discover new places. Public schools make it difficult; travel must be planned during school breaks, although it can be done during the school year the administrators make you feel like you are breaking the law and disrupting your child's learning process if you want to take them out for a week or two.

Lately we have been discussing the need to preserve folk knowledge, of building techniques, cooking, canning, sewing, and knitting. I don't know how to knit; I learned to crochet as a teenager and made one afghan, but I am curious about knitting. I want to spin wool and make wool socks and sweaters. We look through the course catalog from North House Folk School in Grand Marais; here they teach everything from knitting to boat building. Perhaps I can revive some of my Scandinavian heritage through knitting.

Just some rambling thoughts on a rainy June morning.


the dharma bum said...

thanks for the insight on life, meaning, child-rearing... you managed to do a really good job of bringing together a lot of big, complex issues into one essay without it seeming disjointed or incomplete.

i feel like you guys are on the same wavelength as my wife and i... the challenges of living out this way of life are great, society is kind of built around destroying it, but i think it is too important to not try, to not succeed for that matter.

thanks for the thoughts!

Erich said...

I can also identify with your thoughts. Spirituality for my wife and I has always centered around the wilderness. We got married outside on the North January. It is the perfect temple.

It sounds like you are aware and trying to create a good environment for your children. I'm sure they'll grow up right.

Deb said...

Thanks for the comments. Actually, that essay was kind of a stream of consciousness thing, written in probably twenty minutes, after my husband went out to the kitchen to cook breakfast. I'm glad it read so complete and coherent! It was probably one of the better conversations we'd had in a while, and makes me believe that, despite his (and my) imperfections, I'm glad I married the person who is probably my soulmate.
Erich, that must have been a beautiful wedding. We have some pictures we took of each other, when we had known each other for maybe a month or so, on New Year's Day 1990 at Split Rock Lighthouse.
What I forgot to include, and maybe this might be the topic of a whole other post, is how absurd we both think the whole world is sometimes. Maybe this was brought on by an episode of "This Old House" we saw yesterday, in which they were building a fakey stone wall and featuring a glamour kitchen that was larger than our current living quarters.
It's so nice to have a community of bloggers who I can share these things with!

the dharma bum said...

deb - yeah, it sure is nice to have some people who "speak the same language" out there, isn't it? i've really enjoyed the conversations and posts i've read the past few weeks.

this world sure is absurd. seems like nobody wants anything real any more, even though what is real are the simplest, most peaceful things out there. the sky is real. water is real. trees and rocks and snakes and turtles are real.

why do people want things which are contrived, affected or concocted?

i hate to be the "people are stupid" kind of person so i'm really just trying to figure out american culture in this day-and-age to try to find some answers...