I told you about the man who got possessed by the female water deity. But I didn’t tell you everything. I didn’t tell you that I played an African song that unintentionally provoked it. That in the midst of the beats for Mami Wata, he ran into the ocean and came back dazed and bloody.

“You did this to me,” he said. “She is coming out of your eyes, I can see her, she wants me, stop looking at me!” He meant Mami Wata, La Sirene, Yemenja- whatever you desire to call the African mermaid who reigns as “Queen of the Ocean.”

I don’t know what he saw in my eyes, but they are the color of the sea and the sea is where my heart belongs.

But at this moment, even on the water, I feel very disconnected from self. Floating above my feet. Searching for the ends of my toes. Running to anywhere else and finding my same disjointed self there.

Sometimes I come back to Juniper, after a day on shore, and I witness a part of me wishing that she wasn’t there. I fight the unpleasant thoughts. I yell at the side of me that thinks them. The elements of my delight sometimes even bring me down or drive me mad, like the sounds of my windchimes.

I don’t know what is happening, other than an extreme transformation which I am wholeheartedly resisting. Where does it come from? Is it the energy of this island? Is it some energy inside of me? I think I am struggling with the responsibility of Juniper. The weight of her falling only onto me. The immensity of that weight choking all creativity out of me beyond these words that I write to you now. Frazzled. Wiped out. Je suis tres tres tres fatiguée.

It’s not that I don’t love Juniper, it’s that when I’m with her, I don’t love the lack of myself. This unknown stillness. This thirst. This sinking feeling that I experience sometimes.

It can be difficult to own a boat alone.

Today, all I wanted was to go to Papeete and see the Heiva celebrations. It’s the month long festival in July that glimmers with all things authentic within the Polynesian culture. Fire walking, dancers shaking in grass skirts, seeds, shells, flowers, canoe racing, heavy stone lifting, banana bearers, and beyond. It’s all the bits that envelop the spirit of the culture, the bits that missionaries and colonialists tried to destroy in order to reign. The cool thing about a spirit, especially a collective one, the more you spit on it, the more you will suffer, and the more it will find a new way to rise. Heiva is that spirit rising.

I ached to go and see ensembles of the island chains dance, even had a bag packed. But the wind was a wall and already my yellow dinghy seat blew away and is now lost in this bay, so I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Juniper on her own. And I was even more pissed about the sound of my windchimes after that.

Then came a series of exquisite occurrences. A friend called to say that their mom bought me a ticket to go and see his daughter dance at Heiva tomorrow night. I was going to go see the performance alone today and I was going to hitchhike my way to the ferry to get there. Now I have a calm window to sail to Tahiti in and I get to experience Heiva with an entire Polynesian family. That’s more ultimate that the dream of going that I initially had.

Tomorrow is why today didn’t come to fruition.

I was ecstatic. I rode that energy to shore, to fill my water jugs up and empty trash. I was pumping water, when a stranger surprised me with a flower for my hair. Followed by the firefighters letting me put my trash in their poubelle. When I returned to Juniper, a friend paddled their Va’a out and gifted me with a wooden Va’a paddle and food.

How can I get down when my life is pure magic. When their are ripe fruits falling freely into my hands and filling me with their honey velvet. When there are birdsongs echoing from the mountains. When there are stars swimming bright across the night.

3 Replies to “I GET DOWN, THEN I GET UP”

  1. What is there to say? You are an amazing spirit, and Juniper is not something you stand on and steer, Juniper is inside of you, there might be a compass on Juniper, but she is a compass inside of YOU. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone as special as you, man or woman or whatever. You are a star following your star. And your ability to put this adventure of your soul and spirit in this life into words boggles my mind. I know you have gotten on my boat and let me take you into the waters of one kind of ocean. But someday, and I hope it’s not too late and I live long enough, that I can climb aboard Juniper and have you take me into the waters you know so well. I feel as if you have much to teach me, much to teach us all. -jack

  2. I have owned a boat “alone.” I didn’t live onboard but the weight was immense. I sold the boat and took up flying.

  3. i owned a boat alone. then one night, she was gone and I was just another one of the dirt people, cast into that world again, i got lost in wives, children, and ‘success’, always dreaming of being out there where you are now so beautifully stated.
    ya gotta love it or it will drive you mad.
    tamata maitai. you can.
    you can always quit, but that doesn’t sound like you.
    enjoy the fete’.

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