Plum Island

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The sea breeze at Plum Island was cold enough to numb my skin, though the sun was warm. We sat on a log and ate french bread and cheese and grapes. I’d wanted to visit that place for 40 years. I finally made it and the island lies only an hour by car from my home.

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IMG_3428Lately I’ve felt lost. I searched for the directions to Plum Island and found the unexpected. I came home that night and read a page from Margaret J. Wheatley’s book Perseverance. She reminded me of the importance of setting a course, but not a destination:

“Most of us think we know where we’re going. Or at least we think we should know where we’re going. We may have been taught about goal or intention-setting, perhaps even about planning and strategic thinking.
 
Knowing where we want to end up seems essential. As one wit said, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you may just end up there.’
 
IMG_3455But once we know what our destination is– in life or love or this project– we too easily get trapped by desire. Holding our hopes tightly, intent on reaching our goal, working to implement the plan, to reach our dream– all this focus and dedication places huge blinders on us. We may be diligent, but we’re also dangerously myopic.
 
And it severely inhibits our relationship with life. We’re so intent on getting somewhere, or performing well, or becoming someone in particular, that we shut out and shut down. We silence the messages coming from our world. We don’t take in information, we just plow ahead with evermore determination.
 
Good-bye to curiosity, farewell with experimentation. Welcome in disappointment, failure, regret.
 
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We could lighten up– we could go for direction, not destination. We could invite in what the world wants for us, what it’s offering us right here, right now.
 
We could enjoy what we’ll see and discover when we take off the blinders of non-negotiable destination.”
 

 

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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4 Responses to Plum Island

  1. Susi Lovell says:

    A great reminder – came just at the right moment. Reading this I realized I was too intent on finishing a story in a very particular way. Time to pull back and see where the story wants to go. Love the photos – especially the seagull one (I feel I could put out a hand and touch that wet sand and the gleaming water) and the slatted fence.

    • Hi Susi,
      I’m so glad you liked it! Yes, with so much up in the air for me right now, that quote was just what I needed– along with a day at the beach. Over two-thirds of Plum Island is nature preserve and state park. Seven miles of glorious untouched beach. One day we’ll have to go there for a long walk (and I’m sure when we reach the end we’ll still have more things to talk about!)

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