I don’t recall the day you were born but I remember the space you’ve created every moment since then. Do you remember lying on the linoleum the light from the refrigerator splashing across the tan tiles and onto the sofa bed we shared? The red dirt outside covered our clothes, our hair, our beings, and encased the world as it revolved around us. Children of the sea and of the land, girls embracing every moment as the origin and every second as a chance for renewed and expansive lives.
In American culture today, we celebrate competition, inequality, separation and weakening of mankind as a whole. Women suffer but so do men. We bash men’s unique differences and ignore the fact that men are going through and desire a lot of the same things. Confucius once said, “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” As of now, we are just man, competitive and separate. To be as we were intended to be, we must understand that we are one and will be put back together to mankind.
Anger is a funny thing. It’s one of those emotions we feel when we’re actually just feeling hurt and upset. We pent up our disappointments for so long until we just feel this fiery rage build up inside of us until it explodes. It doesn’t actually help or change anything. Quite the contrary, it actually burns the people around us, and us the most. The even funnier thing about anger is that we can choose when we want to let go of that anger.
I was holding on to a lot of anger for a few weeks and the only person it was hurting was myself. So one day when I was driving into the city to go to work, with Fleetwood Mac playing on the radio, and the words, “it appears to me that destiny rules,” I said enough is enough. I told myself to let that anger go. It was not helping anything and sure as hell wouldn’t change anything, and just like that it flew out of my car and onto I-70 and I haven’t seen it since.
The first difference I noticed here was the water. It was no longer elemental but rather something prioritized as a “sometimes necessity” prided like expensive dinners and exclusive clubs. There was no need or joy for the prioritization, simply an interest in status and the notion that it could be had. The coastlines are silent here, except for the sometimes intruder, a castoff from tourist attractions, more adventurous but still standing lost along the shore. The neutral landscapes and muted sunlight fade into other days – the wintertime festivities of another world and the journey to finding that ocean-bound god.
Standing at the head of the Bay shrouded in an early morning fog, feet on the rocks that line the shore, backed by red cliffs of dirt falling sharply behind, and the Elk River to the east, the experience of gazing forever becomes reality. All the subtleties of this land become apparent when faced with such vastness – the indiscernible far shores to the right and left, the grays and reds of the rocks, mirrored in the land and enhanced by the enveloping grayness of the Bay and sky. The richness of the experience is encased in the crispness of the air, water lapping at the rocks, sounds of nature contrasted against man’s own breath.
As I sat at my first red light, driving into Baltimore, something happened that made me believe that my path is not one of anger but happiness and creating moments with other people. I turned to my left and saw an adorable puppy in the front seat of the car next to me, trying to stick its very short head out of the very closed window. As I was watching this and laughing with the owner of the dog, a woman, probably my age started walking over, holding a sign that said, “Homeless, anything helps, thank you”. As she walked in between our two cars, she did not look to us for change, but had seen the dog herself and was laughing too. She then turned to me and we made eye contact, laughing with each other as the light turned green and cars started zooming by. We gave each other a wave and I continued on my drive to work.
This miniscule moment in time was absolutely nothing and absolutely everything at the same time. If we’re talking about this moment in history, then it is absolutely nothing. No one will write about it. No blood was shed, no families were torn apart, and no one came out the victor. It was just a few women on their different walks of life, sharing in a simple moment. In that blink of an eye, I felt connected with this woman who was probably going to look for a shelter when it got dark and I was going to go back to my comfy bed. This moment, not even a dot on the timeline of history, would have never even been a dot if I was still holding on to my anger. This moment, that would probably mean nothing to anyone else, gave me hope that I was not falling apart, but falling into something new, which is even more beautiful than before.
The lights here reflect on the sea at night, cast offs from mansions long past their glory days. I step into the sea – flat, dark, silent – push off from the sandy bottom and glide to where I can no longer reach the bottom. Glide further and further until the mansion lights are specks and the stillness has become tide. The smallness of you is unimaginable when confronted with no other option but the limitless sea herself.