“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”
Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” is a call to action, a reminder “to pay attention,” and to learn “how to be idle and blessed.” It is how I’m choosing to live my summer, paying attention to the beauty of this place I call home, to the many small blessings of the every day.
I’m just back from another sailing weekend with Dan. We anchored in two idyllic spots, just off Russell Island the first night, and in Winter Cove, off Saturna Island, the second. Both were new discoveries for me: though they are so close to home, I hadn’t been to either spot before.
Apart from the pleasure of exploring a new place for the first time, here are some of my favourite “wild and precious” moments from this weekend away:
I want to hold on to the tranquility of early morning on a sailboat, the sun warming the dew-glistened deck, a lone eagle crying in the distance, the muted sounds floating across the water of other early-rising boaters.
I want to remember the quality of light at Winter Cove, the deep golden hues of the summer evening, the glorious sunset, and the changing colours in the sky from sunset to twilight to full darkness.
I want to remember the shooting stars, particularly at Winter Cove. We were sailing during the peak of the Perseid meteor showers and as darkness fell each night, we watched star after star blaze across the sky. Magic, really.
And I want to preserve the memory of the bioluminescence in the water. When the water gets warm enough here in the summer, and it’s completely dark, you can draw a paddle through the water and watch the trail of sparkling light which the movement creates. I remember one summer watching friends taking a late-night dip, the water shimmering around them as they moved through the water. This weekend, I was content just to use the boat hook, creating swirling, sparkling ribbons of light in the black water.
Finally, I want to hold the memory of the little pod of orcas, travelling toward us as we sailed home on Sunday. The three whales would surface and dive, surface and dive, and then surface and playfully slap their tails against the water before diving once again. “Wouldn’t it be perfect if we saw some whales?” I’d said to Dan earlier in the weekend. Perfect indeed.
What are some of the wild and precious moments from your summer so far?