Friday, July 12, 2013

"Let Your Soul and Spirit Fly..."

Last time we were in L.A., Dave got to test drive our friend Andy's Maserati.  This time, I drove the new BMW of our friend Jude.
Melissa and Jude, and his bro Brent
Cars are like citizens here.  They have their own personalities.  The BMW propelled itself down the road, smiling slickly at the Escalades, Jaguars, and the occasional Honda.  

I was driving the car because we dropped Jude and Melissa off at the airport.  They are generously letting us stay two days at their place while they're off to the East Coast. 

Marina del Rey
But first we spent a wonderful Thai-take-out-and-wine evening with them.  And we watched the video of our Australian friend Mark playing the piano.  

Jude was impressed with the love and commitment it takes to play with such skill and emotion.  It inspired him to take out his guitar.  As he often does, he played his sweetly gravelly rendition of my favorite song:  "Into the Mystic."

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic 

And when that fog horn blows 
I will be coming home
And when the fog horn blows 
I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it

Sea air drifted in through the open sliding glass door, the ocean ambiance reflecting this mariner song.  And suddenly I realized the lyrics were speaking to me about my friend and mentor, Gabriele Rico.  It would have been her 76th birthday that day. I'd just read an incredible piece by her daughter about how as she was dying, Gabriele said she was experiencing an "awakening." And that she felt no fear. (I want to hear it, I don't have to fear it...)

These thoughts still resonated with me today as Dave and I rode bikes through Venice Beach to Santa Monica.  

I was thinking about how living isn't possible without dying.  And while we're alive, shouldn't we let our soul and spirit fly?  

Isn't it all about being in this moment?

I thought about how often we humans wriggle out of the present by drumming up thoughts about the past, by worrying about the future, and by harshly judging ourselves and others.

I wondered if riding a bike had any meaning--if that moment in life was really just about pushing my feet onto the pedals to move the bike forward and feeling the sun and sea air on my skin.  

I thought:  Is this really enough?  If I'm not going back to teaching, or raising kids, or going to therapy, or introducing bills to Congress...does my life have purpose?  Do we have to have purpose--other than to let our soul and spirit fly? 

Venice Beach
Later, as Dave and I soaked in the pool and jacuzzi, I also soaked in thoughts of the abundance of loving friends and shiny cars and blue water and vast stretches of white sand, and wacky, colorful Venice Beach characters.  

And I realized that on our journey of giving up home and job to travel the world, I'm digging around into this seemingly banal but bottom-line question:  What is life about, after all?

And I'm learning more deeply about what it means not to do, or to have, but to be.

Writing on the patio.


Cathleen Miller said...

"And I'm learning more deeply about what it means not to do, or to have, but to be."

Careful, darling, that sentiment may be profound but it is anti-American and soon you will be monitored big-time by Big Brother.

Seriously, it is an important question and travel definitely facilitates--if not the answering--then the pondering. And the notion that it is enough to merely BE, rather than to possess and conquer, is really not part of American culture.

We will all stay tuned for the answer when you come up with it.

From Milan,

Unknown said...

Kate, I think you and Dave are living examples of what life is all about: enjoying this fun ride we call LIFE. You're milking it, appreciating it, sharing it. I can't imagine a more purposeful and worthwhile endeavor.