Meditation and water
I have twice delved into the murky or magical, depending on result, waters of internet dating. So successful was I that, for several weeks I was ‘Times Encounters’ most popular woman. I tell you this not to brag (though, let’s face facts it is entirely braggable) but because I remember clearly stating in my profile that I loved water. The ocean, lakes, rivers and streams, I am happiest when near them or in clear sight at least. Puddles possibly not so much though jumping in them has it’s own delight with the strong caveat of the correct footwear. I would challenge anyone to enjoy a long walk home in squelchy shoes with soggy socks on a dank chill day. Correct me if I’m wrong, I dare you.
In my last post I told those who cared to work it out from the clue I gave that I was bought up by the river Thames in Berkshire and it is fair to say that most of my life has been lived by the Old Father. So maybe that is the explanation. Or maybe it is hardwired into my DNA. I come from a long line of Naval servers. My Grandfather, for example, was a giddyingly senior Admiral – as a young Lieutenant aged younger than my second daughter is now, he was aboard HMS Chester at the Battle of Jutland, the last face to face naval battle in history before the equipment got so clever that these days you don’t really need to be in the same water to score a direct hit if you feel so inclined. He remembered dinner immediately after the battle when the blood that had soaked the decks was barely washed away, the Stewards brought in tureens of tomato soup. Even the Captain declined.
Whatever the reason, I find that being near water rests my spirit and enables clear thinking and so I was delighted recently to go to Gloucester MA, made famous by ‘The Perfect Storm’ and step onto a safe ship in glassy calm waters to go whale watching with HB2 and youngest daughter. Whales are guaranteed because of the location, a marine natural reserve 12 miles offshore. If you don’t see any they invite you back again until you do. You are, however, reminded that these are wild animals, not a circus show and that what you see depends on many factors, not least how diva-ish the whales may be feeling on the day. It turned out that the Whales were in positively symbiotic spirits for reasons we shall never fathom because we don’t speak Whale. They advertised virtually all their major surface behaviors – they breached, they blew spouts, they lay in a trance-like state on the surface, they flapped their fins and they dived showing off their immense barnacle bejewelled tails to glorious effect. It was an astonishing show which might have been choreographed by Busby Berkeley himself. The company we went out with educate as well as facilitate sitings so we learned much along the way about these wonderful and historically maligned creatures. You can find out more by going to their blog right here and if you ever get the chance, grab it. It is a truly unforgettable experience.
We have SO many photographs from the outing but this is my perfect picture, or more accurately Two Brains’ since, peglegged as I have been of late, I couldn’t balance self and camera securely enough as the boat bobbed and curtsied, to take a decent picture. I submit it here as my entry in this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge titled H2O (which I misread initially and thought it was a tribute to The Brains). Here are the rest of the wonderful entries for your delectation, should you feel inclined.
PS: Last night, we had dinner with two of HB2’s team . They work in his lab two days a week. They are rising 89 and 91 and the older of the two served in the US Navy. He can’t swim.
My quote, as you might expect, is from ‘Moby Dick’. In Chapter One our narrator, Ishmael remarks to us ‘Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded together’. I have never faulted him that assertion.
I love the poignant humor I find in your words
Thank you Arati … that is a lovely thing to tell me. Really lovely.
You have a knack of totally capturing my attention whilst making me smile at the same time too. I certainly would have declined the tomato soup! Oh by the way, I think you should definitely brag, sounds like quite a claim to fame!
Thank you! That is such a lovely compliment 🙂 Actually my Grandfather, who died before I was born unwittingly put me off tomato soup so many times did I hear the story as a child! I love toms but never in soup and that must be the explanation. I shall blag away – thanks for the permission 😉 xx
Brag away! And what a stunning photograph!
I think father would certainly have supped the soup..and gone for seconds, having a well founded belief in the unreliability of quartermasters in the matter of rations.
His reaction to any ‘ooh nasty’ in the military line was ‘if you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined..’ and he saw plenty of ‘jokes’ in his time.
I had the privilege of the acquaintance of a pukka R.N. gentleman who served in World War II…Atlantic convoys, Russian convoys, D. Day…..having the bows blown to bits and steaming backwards across the Atlantic…all in a day’s work…
His view on swimming was that it was a pointless accomplishment unless you wished to impress ladies at the Lido: if you went in the drink it would either be warm water and sharks or cold water and hypothermia.
And he remembered all too many of those lifebuoy lights dimming on the horizon as the convoys steamed on…
I loved that picture …. couldn’t take credit for it but he really captured the spirit of the day for me. The bragging amuses me and I do remind Two Brains (who happened into my life quite by chance and not as a result of the Internet) that he is a VERY lucky fellow indeed. As for your dad – well done he but I’m afraid just the story put me off Tommy Soup for life. This pukka RN Gent of yours sounds quite the card. And I have to say I think Grandpa and all the other Navy souls in my family (including my dad) would agree with him on the swimming. They were a breed apart, as were their Pongo countaparts and the RAF boys and girls. We have much to learn from them though it would be nice if we learned without another bluddy war.
Wouldn’t it just…but not much chance of that as things stand. Very depressing world scene where a tiny scrap of what is spent on arms would rebuild the lives of those in Haiti in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
I keep returning to that photograph…absolutely stunning….
No – none at all. We had dinner with a wonderful chap on Thursday. He was formerly my husband’s assistant. Born and educated in Puerto Rico he is a naturalised American. He left my husband to go back to the project he had been working on. He now Directs it. Based about an hour from here (in an entitled, couch liberal State) he works with immigrants. Hispanics and mostly illegal. He talked of the futility of teaching English as a Foreign Language to people whose average level of education is 2nd Grade, who are illiterate in their own language (mostly a dialect not Spanish which they might have a smattering of). He spoke of the grandmothers who drop their grandchildren off at the day centre they run. They average around 35 years of age and their teenaged daughters are typically in jail for sex and/or drug offences. If they have avoided drugs thus far they will certainly be addicted when they are kicked blinking into the cold at the end of their sentence. He talked of the farms and businesses who pay them a pittance and the fear that is inherent that they will be caught out and sent home. So no-one speaks up. None complain. He says the most common facial expression is dead behind the eyes. This country spends more on défense than the rest of the world put together by a factor of several and sits high and mighty when it should be hanging its head in shame. As should the whole of the ‘developed’ world.
While we talk about the evils of historic slavery…
You would love some of the remarks I have made on that hypocracy – not repeatable online!
Perhaps we need the ‘not PC’ web as well as the dark one, whatever that is…
Most definitely ‘Disgrace Book’ perhaps! by the way, our friend does not want any publicity for his project because he said it will attract the wrong sort of attention and make things worse …. and I think to myself, what a wonderful world (not)
I do like ‘Disgrace Book’! I can begin to imagine the content….
Saddened that your friend is forced to feel like that…no, not a wonderful world.
I’m pretty sure DisgraceBook would be a smash hit.
Yes, one outraged article in ‘The Guardian’ and we’d be away!
I am dangerously tempted – and given that the odious little squirt that started FaceBook (as a means of grading female undergrads for bedability) was Harvard Alumni and that HB2 is a prof there it would feel jolly appropriate!
Nature never ceases to amaze and inspire me!
She is the most marvellous of creatures, Mother Nature …. I am forever in her thrall 🙂
Oh my lord. The Battle of Jutland story is truly unforgettable. I love the description of the boat as it “bobbed and curtsied” on the waves. I can feel the motion based on that description. Lucky you to have seen whales!
I’m glad you liked the description … that’s what we do isn’t it? Strive for the words that paint the picture effortlessly …. sometimes it works! The Jutland tale put me off Tomato Soup for life. I can’t touch it though I love tomatoes in every other form. The Whales – I will never forget the Whales …. I felt so fortunate that they chose that day to be so flirty!
I also love water and whale watching is always amazing…(Suzanne)
I’d guessed you loved water, Suzanne. Whale watching was a dream come true for my daughter and a source of huge envy to her elder sister who heard it through the grapevine!
What a fantastic thing. I was very lucky to see a whale a few years ago, just by chance, on a work day out to Bruny Island. We were driving past the beach and a whale was very close inshore, swimming and splashing, it was a magical, entrancing thing to watch. I shall probably never see another in real life, but I shall treasure this memory for it’s beauty and contentment.
Beauty and contentment … that describes it perfectly. I’m very happy that you have seen a whale …. and by chance it must have been even more magical, I think.
I never imagined I would see one, and then there it was.
I too want and need water close by. Otherwise I shrivel.
It lubricates the soul, n’est pas?
Spectacular writing as always. I agree with Susanne about the bobbing and curtsying – I am a hideous sailor so it made me feel slightly queasy. Or maybe that was the tomato soup story, which was a classic. However, as a fellow daughter of the Old Father this blog really touched my soul. I have always sought out water to live next to and your blog made me reflect on how blessed I have been. From champagne clear icy mountain rivers to the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Currently wallowing next to the Zambezi and keeping fingers crossed for an interview on Monday that might see me heading off to the Okavango Delta. I shall hope that your blog is a good omen. By the way, that brag is a spectacular achievement, though totally deserved.
Thank you Kate. Your comment means the world to me. I would love this piece to be a sign that this new venture is going to be offered to you 🙏🏼
I just love your posts… once again I came away with new knowledge. Now I know who the BB fellow was!
Anyway… as I began reading I wondered if we were going to see images of coxed eights on the Thames? You and Old Father… 😉
Busby was a legend of ludicrousness 😉 I will get to posting about my rowing at some point. I’m inherently discursive so there will never be a pattern or a timeline to this but I do always deliver on my promises. Eventually!!!
As you say so well… it’s for the joy so that means you have to do it your way! Eventually!! 😉
Your words always have me in the story you are telling – great post. I would have to think twice about venturing out there because I can have extreme motion sickness and therefore my head may be over the side of the boat – it you know what I mean. Great photo – Happy Weekend Osyth. 🙂
I used to get motion sickness in cars as a child but grew out of it. Sea sickness doesn’t effect me at all – I’ve always thought it must be genetic with all the sailors in my family. If I were you I wouldn’t risk it. My nemesis is vertigo and I find it very hard to look over edges and tend to avoid it. I hope you have all weathered the storm – although I know it hit higher up the coast than you are but I’m still sure there must have been hysteria and uncertainty in the community you are staying in. Even up here they are now getting revved up and we notice people stockpiling. Another reason that the media should be gagged! Happy Sunday to you three from us three 🌞
All is well in our area – no storms – just mild temperatures and sun. Happy Sunday to you as well. 🙂
This makes me happy 😊
Catching up since being away and what better way to do so than by enjoying your words as always. A great post Osyth (as in Oath) although squirming at the “squelchy shoes and soggy socks” 🙂
There is little worse than a soaked sock and shoe combo! I’m always happy to see you and have been enjoying your foray into Quebec very much indeed 🇨🇦 🍁
I love your little twist here!
Thank you Maria … I can be relied on at least for the fact that I will generally not follow the norm …I loved your take too which was also out of the obvious box and so delightful
As always, such a pleasure to set time aside to savor one of your stories❤️
Thank you Munchkin! This makes me happy 😊
Your story of tomato soup made me smile – it won’t put me off eating it, but I will always think of that story when I do!
Your photo is wonderful – what an amazing experience to see such a display. We went whale watching off the coast of San Diego but, although we did catch a few glimpses of tails and water spouts, the display was not a great one that day.
We were SO lucky that day … the whales were definitively in the mood to play. The story DID put me off Tomato Soup I think …. I can’t stand it although I absolutely love tomatoes in any other form. Enjoy yours!
So wonderfully captivating as always, Osyth! Magic!
Why thank you Lady Lana! I’m always happy to make you smile 😊
You’re a gem, Osyth 🙂
Wow. What a wonderful pic.
I have lived by water for the past 30 years, in one place or another. Our garden backs onto the ‘Old Father’ and our lives are soothed by its passage
There were many corkers that day but for me it was the tails that were so evocative as they dove silkily into the deep waters. I’m envious of your garden backing onto OFT … whilst all rivers captivate me, he will always have my heart ❤️
Wow – what a spectacular experience you were lucky to enjoy! Memories created that will last a lifetime.. Just like those of your grandfather’s… x
Whale-sized good fortune! x I never knew my grandfather but many stories outlived him and that one put me off Tomato Soup for life by proxy! x
Well that’s one thing I’m not thankful to you or your granddad for – haha! I loved tomato soup but after reading this post I’m not sure it will ever taste quite the same again!!..hehe.. x
Oops – sorry 😉 x
No – really – I can see you laughing! (and so am I..) xx
A wonderful picture Fiona! The water is calming and you have surely captured us again with your writing and witt! Love it
This makes me very happy! I can’t take credit for the picture (they were all taken by my husband and daughter that day whilst I concentrated on trying to keep upright despite the calm waters …. one legged is quite a challenge, it turns out! But the words are all mine and I’m always happy when I strike the right note with those I truly value. That would include you with a capitol Y by the way!! xx
Thanks sweetheart! xxx
Osyth, first of all a stunning photograph. I used to get to watch these whales while working in cruise ships. It’s amazing. Really enjoyed this read.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it …. I have friends who worked Cruise ships and they have many tales to tell – I’ll bet you do too! There were some beautiful pictures taken on my camera that day, but none by me!
Hi Osyth, those photographs are amazing!! I could kiss your camera😂😄 ohh yes many stories to tell on cruise ships. I am writing now, in front of my desktop, will share few experiences on board, hope you will enjoy the read. Have a nice day!!
I shall very much look forward to the read – this I know!
Loved the photo – congrats to HB2. I also love water in any form – even the humble puddle. Maybe it’s growing up on an island that did it for me. Also a childhood spent within a 5 minute walk of a wonderful river swimming hole probably has something to do with it.
Nature and nurture generally hold the answers, I think. I will pass on your congrats to HB2 – he’s quite swollen headed over this one with good reason, I feel!
Hi there!! Just discovered your blog….it’s amazing. You certainly are very interesting storyteller 🙂
Well hello! And thank you for the compliment which warrants a forage into your blog tout de suite!
The whales were beautiful through the camera lens taken by your husband and daughter, as well as how you described them bejeweled with barnacle crusted tails, like our smile lines, show they have had lives full of joy and meaning. Thanks for sharing this, Fiona! <3
You were in my great grandparents neck of the woods. They settled in Rockport, Mass. It reminded them a bit of the fjords and my great grandpa created many stone walls, as well as a castle of sorts in Gloucester. 🙂
I love that – the barnacles are smile lines for whales! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. It was an enchanting and unforgettable experience x
It just was inspired by your creative, artistic “bejeweled” post, Fiona. <3
What fun…..nothing better than bodies of water and then throw on of the most majestic creatures on earth in it…well, I am pretty sure you have a little of heaven in front of you….like you I am a water baby…I was raised near a huge lake, and moved to the Pacific Ocean at a young age….fist grade….Puget Sound was our front yard for several years before we move to the Olympic National Park, Kalaloch and lived there for many years, there the orcas came to raise their babies for a short time before heading further north…some of most favorite memories are on those beaches….from there we moved to California Point Reyes National Park , I was in 7th grade….we lived on the ocean on for several years there also…pretty sure I have salt water running through my veins….LOL That is why I am so surprised I am enjoying living in the desert so much…LOL however we do have the beautiful Colorado river just 8 miles from out house and the Gila River closer….(3 mile) but as far as my whale story goes, I lived in Alaska for a summer back in 1983..packed up and sold the rest and moved to the Island of Prince of Wales in the southern part of Alaska…it was called the last frontier at that time…we have no street lights on the entire island and from where I lived I could see water 70% of my 180′ view….beautiful…a friend of my sisters, a man nicked name Gorilla, long red wavy hair and pretty primitive as far as manners, LOL was a captain of a boat…..he asked me out for a ride and with the approval of my sisters (for safety reasons I needed to hear from them it was safe, lol) he took me out around the small islands, it was breath taking…then he turned off the motor and just floated with the water….then he pointed and said there she it….a beautiful orca mother whale and her baby….they were so close to the boat I could reach over and pet them…she was beautiful….she laid on her side and floated with the boat and looked at us…in my life I must say time stopped and a bit of magic happened….she hung out for about an hour….and allowed me run my hands down her and touch her baby….magic at its best!! on other outings in the boats in Alaska, My brother in law owned one too….salmon fishing is big there…hummmm who would of thunk it…LOL I was able to witness humpbacks breaching on multiple times, my brother in law kept his distance as he should, but I itched to jump in and go swim with them….LOL and the dolphins would play around the boat and then in its wake as we travels….I really enjoyed that part of island living…so there’s my whale tale….LOL I really enjoy your style of writing….and now I will not be able to eat tomatoes soup with out thinking of your grandfather….LOL I knew we were spirt sisters…..kat
Oh wow! What incredible experiences you describe. I didn’t know you were brought up near Puget Sound (on my list to visit next year) and I am in awe of your Alaskan adventure. My father, a Nuclear Engineer and Physicist researching for different governments was not allowed to fly over Russian Airspace during the cold war so used to fly via Alaska to Japan when he worked there. He was in his element and I have to visit for him because I know, had he lived longer, he would have gone and spent more than a couple of nights there. We have much to talk about when I invade your peace in the desert, spirit sister 🌙 ⭐️ ☀️ 🌊
Look forward to it….enjoy the moon tonight, suppose to be a beauty….kat
A real beauty and still hanging in the sky when we got up …. just gorgeous xx
I was out moon beaming last night too!!1
What you wrote about water resonates with me. I was at the coast last weekend and was excited to see dolphins. Whales – lucky you! Amazing!
I felt truly privileged. I have never seen dolphins … I know I would cry – I adore them! 🐬
Being that we’re made of so much water, did you feel any effect from the super moon in November? I found it most energizing.
I’d like to invite you to read my blog: https://thinkingofnow.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/back-to-the-sun/
Indeed I did …. it was quite extraordinarily powerful and energising. I will take a look at your blog …. I set aside time every Sunday to explore new blogs so I shall look forward to it then. Namaste 🙏🏼
Energizing is so the word – I feel like I’ve been carrying the energy with me all week and magical things keep happening.
This makes me happy!
I tried internet dating a couple of months ago and wasn´t really happy with it. Although the guys I´ve met were all more ore less quite nice, I didn´t liked the way people met each other on the virtual side of it, trying to assess the other person just by what he/she likes or what not. I personally have so many good friends I would never have met virtually if I´d known what kind of films etc they like 😉 So the whole thing didn´t really work for me…
And I share your love for water!! I feel deeply connected to the medium, although I once nearly drowned. But the deepest connection I feel with the sea, I could look at it for hours and be content. I always dreamed of being a seal, as I admire their elegance greatly (I only manage to splash wildly around 😉 ).
WIsh you a very beautiful day! Sarah 🙂
I found internet dating terribly tiring … all that appraising profiles which actually, as you rightly say, tell you nothing at all. And then the notes which I always felt I had to reply to even if the person was clearly not someone I was going to fall madly in love with. And the real moral was that all my likes were creative and I ended up being introduced by a friend to his best friend from school and he is a Scientist. We would never have met online because our interests are supposedly so different but in fact as it turns out he’s my soul mate and I’m his. By the way when we met my initials were FOK (rather embarrassing at school) and in French a seal is a Phoque so his nickname for me is Phoque – he is kind to me, I am graceless in comparison! Have a lovely day and I am so glad to be connected xx
Exactly! It´s terribly tiring and that was mostly the reason I stopped (that and not seeming to be able to find my soulmate that way 😉 ).
And I´m so glad you´ve found your darling soulmate!!! This is so special and I just love how you´ve met and that he transforms your embarrasing initials into such a lovely nickname! How absolutely perfect that is! 🙂
Your story is proof to the believe of finding the love of your life how it´s supposed to happen – accidentally and not generated by a computer database 😉
So glad to be connected too!! 🙂 xxxxx
He’s a keeper that’s for sure and just as surely you will find yours accidentally just as you are meant to! I know this – as I have told Terry before, I have special powers 😉 xxxxx
Thank you so much for your lovely words, Osyth!! 🙂 Always wanted to know someone with special powers 😉 Have a wonderful day and if you celebrate it, a beautiful and happy Thanksgiving! 🙂 xxxxxx
I’m celebrating my very first Thanksgiving in the US just a week before I leave to return to Europe for at least the next 6 or 7 months. I have so much to be thankful for and I will be celebrating with my husband and one other tomorrow. I’m very excited – I think its such a lovely tradition and other countries would do well to adopt their own day of thanks. I wish you too a peaceful and lovely Thanksgiving day xxxx
I hope your first Thanksgiving was everything you wished for and better, Osyth! 🙂 I also think it is a lovely tradition and would love to celebrate it but here in Germany Thanksgiving is in early October and there´s not much feasting, at least not in the cities. I guess they do make an occasion of it in the country though… But there´s always Christmas to look forward to 😉 Wish you a lovely holiday weekend and a good and safe trip back to Europe!! xxxxxx
Thank you so much! We had a lovely time – a really special day and now I’m focussed on getting back to Europe and enjoying Christmas. By the way, if things had panned out differently a year ago, I would have been living in Germany right now for three years. I love the place (or the little I know of it …. Berlin, Koln and Bonn) and I find the people particularly warm, good natured and so much creativity! A sweeping statement for any nation but that has been my experience. Xxxx
I´m glad your holidays went great! 🙂
And thank you, on the behalf of all germans! 😉 It´s always so nice to hear that people actually like being or visiting here, and don´t judge the country and its inhabitants by its horrible history (or the stupid people that still lurk around…). So maybe we could have met, if you would have chosen Berlin for your stay 😉
Have a very lovely week, dear Osyth! xxxxxxx
I am certain I will return to Berlin as my husband has never visited and I found it to be a fabulous city. So when I do …. you will be the first to know! Germany has its share of unpleasant history but if others are honest their own places are not so blameless either. I’m British and our own history is ghastly in places. The trick is to learn and the trick is to forgive. And fools, powerful fools? I can name some right of the bat here and in Britain and in my beloved France too! have a fabulous week xxxx
Love that blogging is clearly a joyful activity for you too.
Nikki, it is! I have been absent for several weeks whilst I effected a rather dramatic move but now that I am settled in my new place, I will be much more active again both with writing and with reading others. I look forward to engaging further with you 🙂
You are a great storyteller!!
Thanks for sharing.
You are far too kind but I do appreciate it! Thank you for dropping by and reading the story – I do hope to see you again
You are always welcome!
You see Osyth, while we are on this spaceship called Mother Earth. We have the opportunity to enjoy the thoughts of other fellows on this spaceship before we disembark this spaceship.
Definitely will stroll by,
Your garden of Life again.
Thank you so much for the pingback … hugely appreciated!