little boats


    I spent Saturday with a group from church on a “LifeCraft Retreat,” where we built little boats as metaphors of our life journeys. We all started with the same pieces of wood and a roomful of materials and possibilities and each emerged with small crafts that both showed parts of our stories and set sail in the small pool on the porch of the Stone House. As we went around the room telling what brought us to the retreat, we all talked about transitions, searching, grief.

    It’s not easy to find your place in this world, even in these days of GPS.

    Years ago, a song lodged in my heart that Noel Brazil wrote and Mary Black recorded. It came back to me this morning as I looked at the pictures from the retreat.


    Better keep your distance from this whale
    Better keep your boat from going astray
    Find yourself a partner and treat them well
    Try to give them shelter night and day
    ‘Cause here in this blue light
    Far away from the fireside
    Things can get twisted and crazy and crowded
    You can’t even feel right

    So you dream of Columbus
    Ever time the panic starts
    You dream of Columbus
    With your maps and your beautiful charts
    You dream of Columbus
    With an ache in your travelling heart

    See how the cormorant swoops and dives
    Must be some thrill to go that deep
    Down to the basement of this life
    Down to where the mermaid gently sleeps
    Not like here in this blue light
    Far away from the fireside
    Where things can get twisted and haunted and crowded
    You can’t even feel alright

    And as tide must ebb and flow
    I am dragged down under
    And I wait the livelong day
    For an end to my hunger

    So I dream of Columbus
    Every time that the panic starts
    I dream of Columbus
    With my maps and my beautiful charts
    I dream of Columbus
    And there’s peace in a traveling heart
    I dream of Columbus

    I’m sailing away . . .



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