The sun set in the sea; the same odd sun
rose from the sea,
and there was one of it and one of me.
– Elizabeth Bishop, Crusoe in England
An old work acquaintance moved to the city, and walks to an embarrassment of great restaurants just down the street. I asked her about the noise and such things, being a country mouse like me. But all she talked of was the thrill of being in the heart of it. She was right where she wanted to be. And isn’t that a thrill?
I walked the short beach twice yesterday, to see what I was missing working with my back turned to it. I feel gratitude for the beach, but mostly for the bay that opens up the sky and the universe beyond. You don’t get quite so spun up about projects when you look at salt water. And I wondered again why I don’t live in such a place as this. Do you get tired of the infinite? I should think not. But our time with the infinite will come soon enough. Now we wrestle with deadlines and commitments and trivial pursuits.
It’s different for each of us, this right where you ought to be feeling. The question might not be where you are at all, but what you’re doing that ought to be confronted. If you feel you’re right where you want to be in your work, in your life, then the world you walk out to meet will feel right no matter where you are. And when it’s not, well, even the divine feels a bit off.
We are where we are, there’s no getting around that. We only have this one go around before the universe moves on to those who come after us. It’s not the place so much as how you fill it that matters. Otherwise it’s just a void, isn’t it?