Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Are your happy thoughts awash in water as mine seem to be?

Family, work, and the Arts seem to ebb and flow in my life, each surging in turn.  But once in a while, they come together in a joyful splash.

Just this weekend, visiting nieces from Denver drew us to the coast, underscoring natural differences between the Rockies and the Bay Area.  I love the mountains -- but what about the afternoon sun on the waves?  Sparkling water makes children of us all!

Happiness on the beach
Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz
From this weekend

Last weekend, we caught the last day of the exhibit, "Impressionists on the Water," at the Legion of Honor.  Just as my memories are flecked with dappled sunlight on water, so were the Impressionists' scenes from the banks of the Seine.  Sails pierced the nautical blues of San Francisco Bay  -- right outside the Museum -- and Monterey Bay, as if in accidental salute.  (The gods of Serendipity must be enjoying this since I am also immersed in an art history project stressing the Impressionists.)

Sailboats out on Monterey Bay this weekend
in synch with the Impressionist sailing scenes

The seafaring displays swept me back to my summer holidays, when my sister, cousins and I navigated coral reefs and turquoise seas.

Our rustic outrigger heading out
for snorkeling adventures

Languid mornings over mangoes and coffee frequently gave way to the excitement of planning the day's excursions.

Breakfast seascape

Snorkeling or scuba diving?  1, 2 or 3 coral reefs?  I want to see spectacular marine life!  I want to be Jacques Cousteau!

We hopped on to smaller, yellow canoes -- mid-sea! -- from our larger outrigger
in order to navigate shallow coral reefs

In fact, we spent so much time submerged, swaying in the hammock appeared way too airborne.

The unused hammock on the shore

So many activities, so many islands, so much water.  But wait a moment.  Nostalgia and water now swirl in an eddy of memories ...

Puddles of childhood in tropical rain ... afternoon torrents paired with naps ... typhoons teamed with a book in a nook ...

Afternoon rain in my childhood home,
from the dining room window

Even music and movement are claimed by the vortex.   Flickering lights in raindrop tempo ... rooftop staccato plip-plop-plop... fluid ballet steps swell to the deluge ...  tap-tap dancing to thunder claps ...

Oh my.  J.K. Rowling was on to something when she conceived her Pensieve.  Wizards and we can be gripped by an uncontrollable flow of thoughts and memories.

Some might prefer drifting with Proust's remembrances rather than Potter's.  Either way, when the current takes us, we are lost in time, shipwrecked in recollections.

Late afternoon mooring
after a day spent in the water

Eventually, the whorls and ripples diminish.  We moor our memories and seek stable shores.  And once more, we are left to reflect, safely, on dancing drops of sunlight.

What are your radiant reflections attached to?


  1. Jenny ... you are a poet!


  2. I agree with the comment above! Thank you for taking me on this much-needed relaxing voyage. I loved this line in particular: "Some might prefer drifting with Proust's remembrances rather than Potter's. Either way, when the current takes us, we are lost in time, shipwrecked in recollections."

    Shipwrecked in recollections... That gave me the shivers. I really feel as if I just looked out at a wide, oceanic horizon.

    I wrote about you on my blog by the way. Don't know if you've seen it in a while. Two posts ago. Hope you're well! xx

  3. Missy and Izzy, you are both dear friends to say such nice things! -- J xx

  4. Wonderful photos, especially the breakfast seascape. I really love Legion of Honour as well. Lovely and enjoyable read. /Madison

  5. Yes, my happy thoughts are usually awash in water - memories of my Caribbean home.
    Your photos here are relaxing to the eye and soul. Lovely writing, too.

  6. What a delightful post this is, Jenny. Your photographs are fabulous too, and I particularly loved the first one. I have a longstanding dream? fantasy? memory? of glittering water like that, with a kind of Venetian palazzo standing alone. I suppose I might have seen such a thing in my early life, travelling around the world.
    My other early water memories include a long ship voyage - to me, as a small child, it seemed as if I had lived on the ship for ever, and life was bounded by blue sea on all sides. Other places came to us - or that is how it seemed.
    In Sitges, in Spain, there's a museum in an old house which sticks right out into the bay. You look out from the windows on to the sea below. I would like to live in a house like that, if I had all the money in the world.

    You always write such nice and interesting comments on my blog. I have been meaning to mention it and thank you - they're such a pleasure to read.

  7. Jenny, thanks for note!

    I love that child's perspective of ship travel -- of the world coming to you! I never thought of it that way. In the past, I was never interested in the prospect of cruises, thinking of them as devoid of the romance of travel (the Orient Express seemed more adventurous). But now, you've put back the sense of wide-eyed wonder it used to carry, like voyagers prior to airplanes!

  8. 'happy thoughts awash in water' what a lovely phrase! These are such poetic words and images, beautiful to read. For me the ebb and flow of the seatide offers the ultimate relaxation - I conjure the sight and sounds up whenever I need to comfort myself and feel peaceful.

  9. I've been meaning to revisit this piece for a while, both to re-read and to comment. It's even more lulling, hypnotic and poetic on a second immersion; so many resonant images, including my favorite: "typhoons teamed with a book in a nook". Water has formed a mesmerizing backdrop to many memorable moments of my life too: English rivers, streams, lakes; Welsh seas, estuaries and tarns; swans gliding, ice cracking...
    This was definitely a post to sip and savour slowly.

  10. Very calming. The beach, the hammock... so good.


Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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