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Thursday, May 7, 2009

a sea change

sea change
n.

  1. A change caused by the sea: "Of his bones are coral made:/Those are pearls that were his eyes:/Nothing of him that doth fade,/But doth suffer a sea change" (Shakespeare).
  2. A marked transformation: "The script suffered considerable sea changes, particularly in structure" (Harold Pinter).
***
1. a striking change, as in appearance, often for the better.
2. any major transformation or alteration.

***

at the Palace of Fine Arts
lingering memories from
the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition


Last night I went to sleep much too late. It must have been an exceptionally foggy night because the fog horn moans were much longer and deeper than I remember them sounding. Even being so many blocks away from the ocean, it made me wonder and appreciate 1. how loud those horns must be to the people that live closer to them, and 2. how many maritime disasters were averted over the years by the sounds of these horns, hidden in the fog but providing a necessary warning to those who might stray into harm's way.

***

When I was a little girl, I had a Viewmaster-- you know, that plastic gadget that you insert a reel of slides in and look through the eyeholes. My favorite reel was the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and aside from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, my favorite Wonder was the Lighthouse at Alexandria.

With its height, its fire and reflective mirrors, that lighthouse not only marked an incredible achievement in engineering but also provided an invaluable alert to avoid danger and destruction and loss of life.

***

Fog horns and lighthouses. Keeping strange travelers safe from harm.

***

I just have to tell you that things are better today with K and the kids. I know you were worried and so was I, and despite the fact that I won't say more about the past few days, you should know now that the sun is shining and we are back on track.

Last night, as I laid in bed and listened to the fog horns, I thought about the phrase a sea change and pondered what exactly it meant. Truly, meeting K and the kids has provided the basis for an alchemical change in me, how I see the world around me, what my opinions are about people and their nature, how I see this city from a different vantage point and perhaps how cities in general function or do not.

All of these things are good. I think some of you were worried that in my efforts to help K, that I am not taking care of myself or am putting her welfare above my own. Yes, and no. As a hedonist and selfish person, I'll never fully be able to not consider my own happiness. However, my happiness is surely linked to others and I don't find that to be a bad state of affairs. What you might read here, whether it is frustration, sadness, anger, hope or love, is true and real.

I would rather write something abrasive and honest because I have experienced it, then not to write it at all. Those who can take it and understand will stick with me, and those who can't won't, and that's fine too.

But those lighthouses and fog horns are real. We all need to see them and listen to them. For this one little family living on the edges of a world that doesn't see them, there are many many others who also need help. I think we need to start small.

I think we can all be fog horns and lighthouses in ourselves. Even if it is to guide one other person, we can do that.

xoxo

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18 comments:

Rachel May 7, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

It was so gorgeously foggy last night... I had class at Fort Mason and all we could hear was the foghorns and the gulls shrieking overhead. It was great. After class it was really foggy at the bus stop and seemed very noir-ish.
Anyway, I liked this post.

J9 May 7, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

Still following you, and I think when life hands you an opportunity to change the way you interact with it, you will have some growing pains, but in the end, you will be better for it.

heidikins May 7, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

this is beautifully written, thank you for the visuals.

xox

smith kaich jones May 7, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

I must tell you that honesty is the thing I value the most - tell me the truth; it is up to me to deal with it or not, to leave or not, to like it or not. It's the way I myself am. Sometimes I keep my mouth closed, but when it is open, I am honest.

Reading your blog the last couple of weeks has been amazing, painful, wonderful, frustrating. I thought more than once of the word hope. And here I will be honest and say it is a word I have come to not even hear anymore, so over-used, so meaningless for the most part. I have always thought hope to be such a passive word - hope without action seems just an empty hand held out to the world.

But you, my dear, are action. A catalyst. The motion in the ocean. :) Starting small, perhaps, but ending small? Probably not.

:) Debi

Gabby May 7, 2009 at 8:54 AM  

I feel so fortunate that the world has people who, like you, feel connected enough to humanity to act lovingly, selflessly. The outcome may not show itself in any instant way. That's an expectation that's set-up for failure, I think. I just went to see The Soloist for a work assignment and the message is clear that one person can make a difference, and that we're responsible for how the world works, cell by living cell. I blogged about a failure of mine today in helping another...but I don't know truthfully how the seeds we plant will ever come to flower. So many people simply refuse to take notice, so focused on themselves. You're a menchette, and you're not alone. And you are loved.

Adam May 7, 2009 at 9:02 AM  

i think this post is like a fog horn, making all the fog go away.

it's amazing to see this change happen, and being a voyeur in your quest energizes me to do things differently.

wish i could do more, but this interview might be close to getting scheduled. i have worked out the kinks i think, so we might be in business.

sonorossa May 7, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

I am so relieved to hear that a resolution has been reached in this situation. Even after working in social services for so many years, I too have had my eyes opened by learning more about this family and what our government does (or does not do) for people in need. This has bolstered my desire to leave the corporate world and return to nonprofit work.

Unlike a lot of other developed nations, our country does not provide a comprehensive safety net for those in need. Ultimately it is up to ordinary people like us to influence our politicians and find innovative ways to help others. All over the country, people like us are stepping in to fill the cracks: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/us/07safe.html?ref=us

Tangobaby, thank you for reminding us that we all have a lighthouse within ourselves.

Char May 7, 2009 at 11:15 AM  

I'm glad to know you're taking care of yourself. And I'm glad things are better today.

~K May 7, 2009 at 12:02 PM  

Ok, I am just kidding, but everyone heaps such high praise on you I thought I would throw you off and give you a break from that heavy cape! :-)

Brook May 7, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

Glad things are looking up. It's hard to know what to do really. And I was wondering how you were doing on the you front.

Cynthia May 7, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

I love the phrase "sea change" what a beautiful metaphor for life.

I hope you realize that most of us can take your honesty! Your real expression creates a strong impact.

So glad to hear that the family is doing well! I hope they are comfortable. It´s difficult to be on the front-line of helping others...there´s sometimes too much stress. Love to you <3

paris parfait May 7, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Sea change is a good way of putting it. (And I miss those foghorns). Am glad you've had some positive developments, after all the uproar of recent days. xoxox

Bee May 7, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

Fog horns and lighthouses: wonderful metaphor.

Do what your heart and conscience compel you to do . . . of course, and always.

Did you ever get my email about sending knickers? The offer still stands. xx

whimseycreations May 7, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

Lovely blog today - I really enjoyed thinking about 'sea changes' and what they can mean in every person's life. Thanks! Jill

SE'LAH... May 8, 2009 at 2:54 AM  

Happy tears ;-)

This is a beautiful, true, touching post!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes you and K's way! JAH will provide Sis! HE always does. ;-)

This is one of the best Conscious Fridays I've had. Hope everyone remember those less fortunate this weekend, and continuing...

Mental P Mama May 8, 2009 at 4:44 AM  

Sea Change says it all.

Carol May 8, 2009 at 5:38 AM  

Nothing wrong with honest and abrasive.. it often gets things done. I totally appreciate that it was coming from a place of frustration that the system often works against people like K and her family and that sometimes, encouraging words are just not enough. Action is needed.

Peace :-)

dutchbaby May 8, 2009 at 6:39 AM  

I can't tell you how happy I am that the tide is changing for K and her young family, and therefore for our dear tangobaby. I'm happy the paypal button has returned because I'm sure there is still a long way to shore.

I have nothing but the greatest admiration for your passion and compassion.