Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crystalline Insight

Today is one of those crystalline winter days where the blue of the sky is so boldly beautiful that it seems unnatural. The air, crisp and jolting, screams out for attention and recognition. That it is so cold makes the blue that much richer. The Olympic Mountains stand out like jagged ice cliffs, the white caps alternatively in full sun and shade as the sun passes overhead. Gorgeous.

Today I've gained a bit of positive ground thanks to powerful wisdom that escorts the garbled mess of my mind to a calmer place. Sharing the angst with a trusted receiver has once again given me permission to consider myself and what I want from this "one wild and precious life". ***

I've been to this most precious place where living one's dreams is possible so I know I can go back again; it's a place of peace, acceptance, self-love and surrender. Had I never been there, I would boldly deny the existence of this possibility. But, having lived genuinely for snippets of time varying from minutes to days and weeks, I know that it is there for the taking. I own the key but need to put it in the lock. The key will appear in my hand when I lose the sense that I can control the outcome of these brisk currents, the snow on these tall mountains. or the cyclic changes that come to barren branches. I am close, breathing close to the possibility.

*** From poet Mary Oliver


  1. Your thoughts, today, and your reference, were powerful ones, Kate. And, I do not expect you to post all of this, however, you amaze me and you lead me to ponder.

    Although I usually sleep deeply and well, my waking hours hold much of the angst of separation and that angst has held me in deep pain since childhood.

    I seem to feel it is an insult to my love for Aruba if I let myself respond to the beauty of winter and cold which you describe with such eloquence. For me, Aruba is the one place on earth that I feel whole, safe, and content. Aruba is home. Any day spent away from home is a day missing the pith of its essence and that center is replaced with aching pain that I have to suppress, and ignore.

    That you can live in a place so very different from the island of our birth, where we spent all of our young lives, awes and amazes me. And, that you can find it beautiful, in the cold, dead time of winter, is an even more incredible achievement. It has never been possible for me to find beauty or pleasure in any deviation from my paradigm of home without it being accompanied by a nagging guilt.

    My lifelong friends from home have said that it is related to the death of my mother in August of the year we completed kindergarten. She died in the States; our happy times were lived in Aruba.

    I have connected it, more, to the duality of my citizenship. With an American mother and a Dutch father, grandparents in Kansas and Amsterdam, KLM always became an oasis where one side of the fuselage has The Flying Dutchman in my mother's language and the other side has De Vliegende Hollander in my father's language. De Flying Hollander always took me home. It is where all of my cultures meld and I feel complete, listening to the lilt of Papiamento and the familiar Dutch and the strong American languages, some Spanish just sprinkled amongst them all. As we pass through Immigration and Customs I am still greeted with, "Welcome home!" when the officer reads my birthplace page on my American passport. Do you suppose they look for it on American passports, hoping to find the Lago Colony kids who are drawn back to our natal shore as are the salmon and the swallow, to theirs? I know these officers always change from dour to thrilled when they see the bold ARUBA in the field marked "place of birth" and they graciously welcome me as one of their own. Because my passport defines me as born in Aruba, I always go through the far right line, marked Resident, another precious moment in the hours of returning home.

    Having discovered a small bed and breakfast on the edge of Oranjestad, owned by a couple who are your age, from Massachusetts, I now have an inexpensive place to return, often. My little haven has louvers and screens where our wind blows through and a patio draped in alamanda leaves and yellow flowers with hosts we now consider dear friends. The neighborhood iguanas parade slowly along the top of the high wall, often led by a dove who lives in the nearby trees, sometimes nesting in the patio alamanda vines. The ubiquitous bananaquits and hummingbirds hover about, showing me, again, that I am home. There is even a sun-heated pool of "sweet" water if one wants to be wet without salt, a novelty to those who grew up above Rodgers Beach and surrounded by the blues of the Caribbische Zee!

    Maybe we all have inner battles we fight, some at night, others when we are awake, but I would always agree with the little girl deep inside me who decided when we were very young, upon returning from another overseas furlough, divided between family in the Netherlands and Kansas, I am the luckiest little girl in the world: I am Dutch and I am American and live in Aruba!

  2. Susanne; Thank you for this wonderful comment, every word of it! Beautiful, thoughtful, and genuine. Your writing is rich.


Leave a comment!