Courting The Impossible

by Maria Theresa Maggi on April 25, 2018

"Breach" pastel memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Breach” pastel memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

About a month ago now, it was raining and storming at the coast. The ocean had gone wild again, stripping the beach of sand and exposing bedrock. But before this time of storms, the ocean was calm, almost a mirror of the sky, unbroken save for where it hits the shore. The beach was wide and mostly flat and perfect for finding shells and agates. One morning, I found half a dozen perfectly intact empty truly tiny houses:

I found all these beauties within feet or inches of one another. It seemed as if the ocean had lifted a deserted colony up onto the wet sand for me as early spring treasure. Out beyond where the wave was breaking on the shore, the whales were traveling north. The dogs and I walked with them, or they with us. The first time I saw a spout that morning I burst into involuntary song, singing “thank you” you over and over. Apparently, I like to think, the whales heard and in some way felt the gratitude, because after I’d sing it, I’d see another spout, a bit of back. It felt like a conversation across a table instead of a message in a bottle across species, elements and great depths and differences in consciousness.

So I walked back to the steps feeling very rich indeed, sated with luck and wonder. I sat down on a rock at the bottom of our access steps and the dogs settled in on either side of me. We often do this before climbing the stairs after a long walk. The day was slightly overcast and the slow breaking of the calm ocean against the sand was soothing. I was happy to have seen so much whale activity, even little bits, because sighting them on their great migration north signals the true arrival of Spring. The other evidence of Spring on the beach was also abundant–the appearance of thousands of tiny jelly fish called Valella. They are windborne, and when the wind is just right they all get washed up onto the beach in April. They are strange and beautiful and exotic looking when still wet, and as they dry up they begin to stink. The smell of drying valella is also the smell of Spring here at the coast.

"Valella in Wet Sand and Sun," pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Valella in Wet Sand and Sun,” pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

With such an embarrassment of riches, I certainly didn’t expect more. From my perch on the rock, I had watched a couple more whales head north, and was pretty content to just sit there. I was visiting with one of my neighbors who had just finished his walk when, for the first time, I saw a whale breach.

Not once, but three times. The magic number. It was easy to see.  The dulled light, the calm ocean, and then, all of a sudden the whale out there–rising up and then slamming itself back down in its own wave of white water.

___

There’s a family of surfers living down the street from me. When conditions are right I have been treated to watching the twin boys, now seniors in high school, surfing breaks off our south steps. Two or three of these times, in the Spring, while on the path high above the access steps, I’ve noted with delight the presence of a whale (or two?) farther out beyond them, spouting or poking small parts of themselves up out of the water, in just such a way that I was given the definite impression it (or they) were watching with interest. The rhythm of it seemed unmistakable in its intent.

On a recent morning walk, the dogs and I were walking past their house as the boys were loading their boards onto the car in preparation to drive to another surfing spot. I described what I had seen and asked them if they thought it was possible the whales were watching them from a distance, with interest, maybe even playing alongside them, but farther out.

I could feel genuine smiles in their eyes behind the sunglasses. “Oh yes,” said one, “that’s entirely possible. When we’re out there the wildlife is very aware of us, we feel that all the time.”

It was such a lovely confirmation I could continue to weave my impressions into a theory beyond the  seemingly impossible. The neighbors closer to my age I had mentioned it to had seemed skeptical, even dismissive. But these young men instantly knew the feeling I was trying to describe to them.

I used to think it was highly improbable I’d see a whale breach, even it it was happening right in front of me.  My eyes are slow to track and focus on what others seem to see very quickly. I’m relieved that somewhere in me I still attempt to court what I fear might be impossible. Sometimes that takes the form of a kind of parallel play: I take on entertaining something within the sphere of my daily life that seems impossible, and that effort, even the willingness to entertain it, I tell myself, may help add energy to those changes out in the larger world that seem so necessary and yet nearly impossible to achieve. I reason that such energy accumulates and creates momentum for more good and wondrous things to actually become possible.

I try this even while telling myself whatever it is seems ridiculous and might not ever work. Or sometimes I try this spontaneously, without thinking at all.  That makes me laugh at myself. And laughter, by its very nature, throws possibility wide open.

Maria (moonwatcher)

 

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peggy bean April 26, 2018 at 8:43 am

Creating our own reality with our positive thoughts can change the world! That’s why I love reading your blog!

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2 Maria Theresa Maggi April 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Thank you so much Peggy! I really needed to hear this today. xoxo

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3 SuryaSmiles April 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Beautiful walk, beautiful seashells, beautiful sketch! Thank you for sharing a beautiful day in your life.

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4 Maria Theresa Maggi April 26, 2018 at 9:50 pm

My pleasure, Surya!

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5 Rachel April 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Beautiful uplifting thoughts of the possibilities that abound =)

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6 Maria Theresa Maggi April 27, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Thank you Rachel!

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7 Gena May 5, 2018 at 5:15 am

Dearest Maria,

One of the things I love most about reading your blog (now and always) is that you hold space so beautifully for the seemingly impossible, improbable, and miraculous. I love your hope that allowing for the impossible in everyday life might generate the energy that would give birth to it on a grander scale. And I especially love that you were not only able and open to seeing an impossible occurrence (the whales breaching), but that you had the courage to ask the teen boys about whether the whales might be playing along with them. It’s one thing to experience the seemingly impossible, but another to have the courage to articulate and talk about it. I’m glad you did, and I’m glad that they understood.

With love,

G xoxo

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8 Maria Theresa Maggi May 6, 2018 at 11:50 am

Thank you so much for your insights, Gena. I’ve been pondering them since I read this yesterday. I think I have an obligation to try and articulate these things if I can. I smiled about your using the word “courage” about asking the twins. It just appeared as a serendipitous moment–they were right there. (And also my background as a teacher and a mother who raised a son who was once a teenager, I am rather comfortable with boys of this age. We often get on famously. And at this stage, they all remind me of when my son and his friends were younger and would bang in and out of our house. . .) xoxo

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