Seal Maiden

Last night was a swirl of squalls with heavy rain, but tonight the moon has drenched everything in a crystal blue and the ocean, she is mellow.

It’s 11 pm. We are on a broad reach headed straight south at a snails pace. Not much wind to be had. Sometimes the night watches are endless, sometimes I don’t want them to end.

Tonight I could stay out here forever. And I’m just sitting on deck wondering what happened to the top half of the yellow moon and I’m admiring how it is mixing with a cloud and looks like the eye of a dragon.

I am wondering too, how many times a flying fish has hit somebody smack dab in the eye? They seem to get lost so easily during flight.

Sometimes I get lost in flight. As lost as a flying fish, as lost as the confused waves in the ocean look, as lost as the shipwrecked. Like I don’t know who I am or where I am or where I end or where I began or where I’m going. And if you threw me into the ocean I don’t even know which way I’d swim. Maybe down. Or in circles.

Lost is like a nothingness. Like the nothingness that exists in an empty glass bottle. And it’s the color of air. And it feels as vast as space and as minuscule as dust. Space dust. And surrounding it are endless possibilities. That’s what makes getting lost a very lush place to be, actually. All the possibilities.

Everything we know originally came from nothingness. Didn’t it? As an idea or an atom or a dream or a drawing or an egg or a mistake or a collision or an explosion or a word or a plume, or a….

Before anything was something it was nothing.

When I was little I used to imagine that I was a shapeshifter. That I could grow into a giant or turn into an ant or sprout wings or make my legs longer or disappear into nothingness in a snap. And I always knew for certain that’s what I wanted to be and do right then.

Over the years I have shifted my shape many times. From equestrian to poet to percussionist to Montessori teacher to TV Host to radio DJ to farmer to photographer to investigative reporter to filmmaker to sailor. I‘m not exceptional at any of those things, but I enjoy them.

As I get closer to Tahiti, I’m thinking about what’s next and I don’t know what’s next. And that’s a lost feeling. A place of torn. Like a single wildflower growing in a pasture of thorns.

My goal is to circumnavigate and interview indigenous communities about humpback whale acoustics. But I might have to hold my horses, because in this time of COVID how can anybody make a real plan that has any density? One that doesn’t flow and change directions and fall like water.

It is only easy, at this time, to say what one is doing today, in this very moment. In this moment I am sailing. In this moment, I’m a misfit and I was made to wander. I don’t know why this is. I just know that if I sit still on land for too long, I start to dry out and my entire being cracks and thirsts for water and adventure. But if I’m at sea for too long I get all waterlogged.

Sometimes I wonder if in my wanderings I am looking for something that may never be found. What if I’m like the Seal Maiden looking for my skin and if I don’t find it I will just keep withering like long fallen fruit.

Seal Maiden is a tale that was born and breathes in the parts of earth where salt water turns into ice. The parts so cold that thoughts and time and traditions are all frozen. It was there, in those parts, that seal maiden swam onto a block of ice. She undressed her seal skin and bathed beneath the moon in the form of a woman. She laid there singing. Her hair fell like long strands of stars strung together and her body glowed like a cloud, white with flashes of silver.

A lonely hunter heard her song and wanted to hold onto her for forever.

He climbed onto the ice and stole her seal skin. When she went to retrieve it, so that she could return to the deep, he begged her to be his wife. He said, “Live on land and love me and after 7 years you can have your skin back.” She agreed. They had a child and years floated by. After 7 years she began to fade. Her eyes nearly blind, her bones like sticks, her body hollow, her long hair now frayed and fragmented. Her fate was death, if she did not return to the sea. She begged for her seal skin, but her husband kept it hidden, fearful of loosing her love. One night their son found the stolen skin and Seal Maiden returned to her home beneath the ice. As soon as she touched the water her beauty was restored.

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3 Replies to “Seal Maiden”

  1. Well, I would definitely say you’re exceptional at film making. I discovered your art via you films, ‘Staring Into The Sun’ and ‘Sailing A Sinking Sea’.
    I consider you sharing your journey experiences in this blog a fascinating art project as well. Bravo! ??
    Continue to listen to your inner-voice and follow your dreams. And most importantly, remember to …

    Pay attention to this moment and everything is there. Perfect. And complete. Just as it is.


  2. Hi Olivia, I have been enjoying your posts about your travels. What are your plans after Tahiti? I’m an organic farmer of hemp, vegetables, avocados, etc. in San Diego. If you need a place to stay or want to grow food and make compost you are welcome to stay at my property. There’s a year round creek, 2 story treehouse, small house, and greenhouses. If you’re interested I can send more info. I love your plans on traveling the world studying humpback whales. I have enjoyed photographing humpback whales for over 10 years. Do you have any regrets on going to Tahiti and what are you going to do while you are there? I attached a picture of some cantaloupes that I just picked from 1 plant. Aaron

    On Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 4:50 PM Wilderness of Waves wrote:

    > wildernessofwaves posted: “Last night was a swirl of squalls with heavy > rain, but tonight the moon has drenched everything in a crystal blue and > the ocean, she is mellow. Itâ??s 11 pm. We are on a broad reach headed > straight south at a snails pace. Not much wind to be had. Sometimes” >

  3. Wondering if your ever got the jib up? I’m not the only one to recommend running down wind to get pressure off it for the hoist. If you do that, just remind the helmsman to pay attention to avoiding a jibe.

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