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.