The Sea Inside (P. Hoare) reminds us that we are all, in some way or another, floating; in the vastness of sky, in a tide of strangers, amongst the desolation of our connected world.
I step outside, under the frost-sharpened sky, and a watery array: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricornus, Delphinus, and Cetus the whale; a starry bestiary (as if infinity wasn’t frightening enough already) of ancient patterns created by minds yet to be overwhelmed by the images that fill our waking day. They fall in slow motion–Orion’s brilliant grid, Betelgeuse’s dying watch-jewel, the Pleiades’ nebulous cloud–seen in the astronomer’s averted vision, as if too big to look at directly. They seem unchanging, but they represent cataclysmic explosions, speeding into oblivion, collapsing into darkness.
It seems that our dear friend Philip feels he is home but not home, chasing whales across our oceans. His relief at returning might be the same reason (beyond mere practicality) that ships carry anchors–that in such a vastness, holdfasts are godsent.
The nearness of the sea opens up the sky.
And a dark night reveals the sky’s limitless depths.