Thursday, June 21, 2012
I'm thinking about the word "becalmed". It was a threatening word for old-time sailors, denoting endless days stranded in the middle of the ocean while food and fresh water supplies gradually ran out. In a metaphorical sense, it could be a time when life slows down because of circumstances beyond your control. If resources are running short, then it's not unreasonable to feel anxious.
Americans are taught to work hard, be productive, move forward all the time. We try everything we can to puff some air into our sails when we sense that we're not going anywhere. That's about as effective in a metaphorical sense as it would be for a literal sailor. Why aren't we calm when we're becalmed?
On this day after the summer solstice, the weather outside is unbearably hot -- not a time to go outdoors seeking adventure. The pace is slow. Wiser souls have already departed for cooler climates. I am dealing with it by setting up a schedule for myself that involves one small accomplishment every day. Sometimes two or three, but the goal is one.
Select one piece of writing for publication, and choose one place to submit it. Write one short piece for this blog, even though I don't have anything spectacular to report. Skim through a few science journal articles to choose something for the news feed on my website. Finish another few square inches in the needlepoint tapestry I'm making. Take out the trash.
This isn't a time for great deeds, but it's not a time to panic either. This is a time to be calm and enjoy the uneventfulness while it lasts.