Saturday, November 19, 2005

Why Search the Sea? Why Gannet Girl?

The immediate and obvious answers have to do with the current implosion at AOL, where I have kept ajournal for 1.5 years. Myopic corporate vision, contempt for customers, technological incompetence. Who knows how it will all play out? I have loved my journal there, and the small cadre of friends I have found -- thoughtful writers, brilliant artists, sensitive photographers. But, as I said yesterday, to everything there is a season (well, okay, someone else said that, thousands of years ago, but I can plagiarize with the best of them) and perhaps for me this is a season of change.

I had actually begun and abandoned this journal sometime back. I wanted a more private place -- people, including all those in my daily life at home and work -- have known me by my aol screenname for over a decade. (Ironically for aol, those of us with the longest ties to that entity seem to be the most enraged by its dismissal of our concerns and the most willing to forge a new life elsewhere.) But I find the technological aspect challenging (think of that as an understatement) and there were a great many pros to sticking with the identity and space I had created at aol.

Nevertheless, I've been pushed out of my little nest and, like the gannets I so admire, I'm feeling a little adventurous. Here's most of what I wrote when I first opened this journal:

To see what a gannet looks like, all you need is a google image search. Gannets are enormous and sleek creamy-white seabirds, with black wingtips, yellow heads and necks, and startlingly outlined eyes. They nest on the rocky cliffs of the European and North American coasts of the North Atlantic and, once grown, spend their days sailing across the ocean. The acrobatics by which they make their living ~ steep climbs into the air and speedy plunges straight into the sea ~ are rivaled only by those of pelicans.

I've only seen gannets off the coast ~ far, far off the coast ~ of St. Augustine a few times in the early spring. They are propelled inland when storms rough up the seas, and on sunny days their gleaming white and black wings and torpedo-shaped bodies in the distance are unmistakable.

And I've only seen one up close once -- we were on a motorboat headed out into the ocean for a parasailing trip and our guide was surprised to learn that the massive bird placidly riding the swells was something other than "an ordinary ole' gull."

What better metaphor for a sweeping search of one's life choices and opportunities than a gannet extended above the waves, a regal and yet restless surveyor of the vast ocean surface? The gannet reminds us that life is an adventure in both beauty and profound unease, and that the sea itself is limitless in its textures and possibilities.

10 comments:

Virginia said...

Beautifully said!
Peace, Virginia

~ Lori said...

Hi there - You did go somewhere! Glad I found you. For now I'm at Purple Snapdragons here, but may change the name or go to bloglines. Hope you'll stop by and say hello. So glad to see you're still writing as I've enjoyed reading. ~ Lori aka fitzzer

Anonymous said...

Let's see if I can get this comment to work this time... you see I am basically computer illiterate, so this is challenging!
Loved the story of the Gannet... still have never seen one...
Your piece is a beautifully written expression of your thoughts and feelings, as always...
Maryanne~ aka The Globetrotter

V said...

Woo Hoo!!!
Welcome.
V

Lisa :-] said...

I guess you AREN'T coming home then, eh? You had my hopes up there for a minute. :)

Of course, I'll keep stopping by wherever you are. And I'll comment when I can. AOL does suck...but there's little in this life that doesn't suck in some way, anymore. I've just learned to pick my battles, and I decided to give this one a pass. I respect the choices of those who left, and I hope you all respect my choice to stay.

Theresa Williams said...

Beautiful entry. I know what you mean about the sadness of leaving the old home being mixed with the excitement of creating a new identity here. What I mean is that we can all fall into habits that keep us from self-discovery. Starting all over again gives us a chance to remake ourselves in an image we may not have previously shown. This exodus can be a chance at a new start.

Virginia said...

Someone had said (about those of us leaving AOL journals) that we were going over a cliff together. I replied that I hoped that as we did, we would discover we could fly!
Peace, Virginia
http://animalnaturespirits.blogspot.com/

Auntie Lyn said...

Nevertheless, I've been pushed out of my little nest and, like the gannets I so admire, I'm feeling a little adventurous.

Boy, can I relate to this comment! I am so glad that I stumbled across you, you write like I think. I will be back...

Blessings
Auntie Lyn

New Home: lynda's lullaby 2
Old Home: formerly known as lynda's lullaby

Vicky said...

Hi, there! Nice to see you here. I am so sorry all the aol people have been so upset by the ads. makes me pleased I went with livejournal, even though I seem to be a minority of one in this community, anyway!

Looking forward to more - and I am SO excited for you that Tulane is coming back into the foreground for you and your dd.

Vicky
http://www.livejournal.com/users/vxv789/

Paul said...

When I was fishing earlier this month, I counted more than a dozen gannets during the course of the day. I wish you could have seen them...and the coots...and the eiders...and the loons...and the brants...