Simple and Safe

One of the pleasures during the almost three years I’ve been posting at C?WC? (three years!) has been hearing from you, my dear readers. I’ve reconnected with people out of my life for ages and made new virtual buddies. And many of these friends old and new have written me when something I’ve posted has struck a chord. That‘s all any writer can ask for, learning that his words have stimulated a smile, stirred a memory, or provoked a profound thought.

Today, it was one of my virtual buds who turned the tables a bit, sparking something in me. She made a reference to the “complicated and dangerous” minds we have, or some of us have (since she is a reader, she knows too well that mine falls into those categories). And my first reaction was, too true, but right about now I would really like simple and safe. Like I had this weekend.

A gray Block Island day

Once again, another good and generous friend invited me to spend a weekend at her place on Block Island. Once again, I was amazed that I let so much of my life go by with all that isle’s charms so close, and had never ventured there. Decidedly my loss. And though it was just my fourth visit in a little less than two years, I felt like it was a place I‘d been going to half my life, and that my friend’s home was an oasis of comfort I‘d been returning to for just as long.

The weekend was ever so simple. Three people. 48 hours. Lots of talking and walking and laughing and eating. Some reading. No TV. No emails. And the safety came in knowing I was with people with whom I could say anything and they would not think less of me (even though one of the housemates was a stranger to me before the drive down to the ferry). The kind of safety we don’t have with enough people, or sometimes think we have, but it’s merely a mirage.

A much nicer day on a previous trip.

From my friend’s house, you can see the ocean, the ferry coming and going, seagoing vessels passing slowly by. Walk into town and you inhale the scent of the water, a comforting smell if you are drawn to the ocean as I am, that weird Piscean who can’t swim but loves to have water nearby.

We walked to Mohegan Bluffs, my first time there, and went to both  of the old lighthouses. At North Point, we came across something totally unexpected: seals of all sizes, maybe a dozen sunning themselves on the narrow spit of land, and the same number or more bobbing in the water. Of course, of course, the one time I head out to explore the island without my camera…

The seals seemed to have what I had that weekend, simplicity and safety. They were, I gather from what I read online, resting before making a seasonal jaunt farther north, to the waters off Maine. But safety is relative: What dangers do they risk once they head for the open seas? And for me, for any of us bipedal landlubbers, is too much safety a bad thing? Can being safe mean not taking risks, not exploring all life has to offer? I betcha. That’s not the safety I want, at least not all the time. A little challenge, a little fear, a jolt of adrenalin when confronting the unknown – I think that might be a good thing. And the reality is, as I have learned so well this past year, they all come, whether bidden or not.

There will be some “unsafe” moments in the months to come, I know. Complications and dangers await, if not at every turn, then perhaps more frequently than I might want. But I have made decisions for the near future that are not safe, because they still feel right. And because I hope I can find a balance between safe and dangerous, simple and complicated, that gets me a little closer to where I want to be, geographically, artistically, spiritually, and, dare I say, romantically. But there are no guarantees. Except this: I will go back to Block Island, this year and whenever I can. And I will thank heaven for the people in my life who bring me simplicity and make me feel safe.


~ by mburgan on May 5, 2011.

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