A Moment of Introspection

Kansuke Yamamoto - A Chronicle of Drifting - 1949 collage

Kansuke Yamamoto - A Chronicle of Drifting - 1949 collage

There’s an elegance to this picture, and yet when I relax into the scene, I wonder about the situations this represents. In reality, a person who (metaphorically) sails the sea speaks of living a life which is likely to involve being swallowed by whirlpools or caught out by a lightening strike. Symbolically, she’s not in a bad place ~ she stands on rock, not sand, so her foundations are solid. The waves are coming in close to her feet and as she looks out you can only be drawn to imagine what she sees. Her mind as a boat, is it referring to freedom of mind? Or freedom for her emotions to sail the seas at leisure? There’s a hint of longing in how she faces out towards the open water. Does a part of her yearn for the unpredictability that only the open water can bring? But that’s a sailboat, not a pirate ship nor a submarine; they conjure sunny blue skies with only wisps of white cloud, and plenty of warning if there’s a chance of rain or storm.

I see a time when emotion flows but is non-threatening to the self. Her posture reflects grace and calm, and the water reflects the light. A time of reflection perhaps, and as she looks forward towards the out-there, is it quiet time to wonder what the future will bring? Or do those thoughts lend themselves to visions of escapism?

The other day as I was listening to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I was reminded of how she sees all rocks as a connection to the symbolic mother and I wondered if this is because she sees the earth as mother, and rocks are of course a part of the earth. On a shoreline, they help to distinguish what is solid and what is not; rocks always remind me of the parable of the wise and foolish builders although I’ve often preferred to sit with the foolish myself. Rocks are eroded over an extended period, yet sands are forever shifting and offer no sure-footing, so in this image, we could be looking at a pull between security and freedom, or between the known and the unknowable. Whatever security the rocks are referring to, be it a job, a relationship, or even a particular self-image, the picture says it has been created over time. I see no sign of having to rush, in fact, there’s no sign of any impetus to act at all. It’s simply about being in a place where we find time to reflect. Life has made time available to pause, think, and reflect on whatever changes may be possible.

I know of people on this planet who find it relatively easy to stick with the safe, predictable, and stable life they have, and yet their thoughts wander freely through the what if’s and if only’s their mind creates. And yet there are others who never quite manage to get to shore and others still, who find only sand beneath their feet once they arrive on land. Thinking and doing are not the same, and imagination offers no real substitution for experience, but as always, let it be each to their own, although sometimes it really is better to let those thoughts just pass on through.