inspireA Journey to Inspire Me

The boat rocked back and forth as it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. The deep blue of the water vied with the sky for my attention. On the horizon, thunderheads piled up between us and the receding shore line. I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets of the open ocean and let them inspire me in some creative way.

The hot wind whipped my curls into my eyes. I didn’t bother to brush it out of my face. My hands don’t dry out in the Texas humidity, and the second I touch my hair it clings like limpets to my fingers—causing a worse mess.

I don’t know what I expected when I signed up for a deep-sea fishing cruise. Ok, I expected to find a few new birds—a masked booby, or even a brown booby. A magnificent frigatebird would make a nice addition to my life list. But so far, brown pelicans, royal terns, and laughing gulls made up the sum total of birds at sea.

Things that don’t Inspire

I didn’t expect the sounds and smells. Sharks struggled, thrashing and thunking against the dark interior of the metal ice chest in the last throes of death. I didn’t expect to feel sorry for the sharks.

Fishermen rushed from the starboard side to cast up their accounts over the railing (‘Make sure you vomit outside and over the rail,’ the deck hand instructed, ‘the fish will enjoy some extra food.’). I didn’t think I’d feel sorry for the fishermen.

What do you do when you don't feel inspired? failed to think about how difficult taking photos from the deck of a moving boat on the open ocean might prove. But I should know better, my photos of birds from a kayak didn’t turn out that great last summer.

We only saw birds (I say, ‘we,’ but I was the only one looking) when we pulled up behind the shrimp boats. At the second boat, I thought I saw a magnificent frigatebird and I snapped four quick photos before we drifted out of camera range.

inspireMy photos won’t inspire anyone. I spent eight hours on a boat and maybe two photos turned out close to my standards. Only one new bird during eight hot hours on a boat.

But other things inspired me. We hit a magnificent squall on the way back to shore, and I imagined what the Pilgrims must have felt like in the hold of a tiny ship (keeping one’s eyes on the horizon helps prevent seasickness). If I ever write a fiction book that involves ocean travel, I’ll have an experience to draw on.inspire

And that about sums up life. We expect things to inspire us, but they don’t. If we choose, we can live in disappointment. Or, we can let the other lesson inspire us in other ways.

What 'other lessons' have you learned lately? #fmfparty Click To Tweet

Q4U: What ‘other lessons’ have inspired you lately?


  1. There is something about attempting to catch that just right photo. I recently got a new really nice camera and I’m learning. It helps to know it is continually a learning process. I’m in the 7 spot this week.

  2. I would LOVE to see a frigate bird one day! It’s on my life list, too. But I figure they got ’em in Heaven.

    In a way, I take inspiration from pain and the humiliations, both small and large, that accompany my situation. And it’s this; things could be a whole lot worse. I’ve seen the developing world; I’ve protected people that their rulers wanted dead because they went to the wrong church.

    I’ve stood knee-deep in a mass grave, and looked up at weeping relatives.

    What’s happening to me is small stuff. I’m so OK that I should be celebrating.

    So I do. Every day.

    And if I can get well and deploy again, heed this, evildoers…I have seen your face, and I am coming.

  3. Good morning, Anita. I loved this. To me it feels like a challenge from God to find the inspiration in the disappointment. And what a bonus for one’s attitude! Blessings upon your Friday, Julie from Five Minute Friday

  4. THIS! This is what I’m learning these days! To not live in disappointment! “We expect things to inspire us, but they don’t. If we choose, we can live in disappointment. Or, we can let the other lesson inspire us in other ways.”

    So I popped over from Susan where she mentioned you and “big red.” what is this “big red” that she’s talking about? Did you have a critter hidden in your trunk that I missed????

    1. Hey, Christy! Big red (aka Beauty) is our travel trailer–last summer we drove together to Alaska and then I drove home by myself :). This year, we went to AK with our kids in their truck, so I just had the Blue Blob (aka the Prius).

  5. Hahaha… okay friend… this post about did me in!
    I have been out on the ocean in a boat and believe me I did not feel inspired! We were out there for a whale watching tour. And yes, we saw some amazing hunchback whales close enough to see their barnacles hanging from them and close enough to almost make me spill my lunch!
    On the way out to the spot and all the way back to the shore. I clung to the bench in the middle deck because they told me that would be the “steadiest/calmest” part of the boat.
    Just reading your words brought those seasick motion feelings back to me! LOL….
    Sorry about you not getting your bird pics… I understand your frustration but so glad you learned other things!
    Thanks for this inspiration! Happy Friday to you friend!
    Rachel Q recently posted…Ignore Christmas Decorations in July – Instead Celebrate Your WinsMy Profile

  6. Usually getting around water brings back some inspiration if my well’s gone dry. Or reading The Word or a good novel. Words inspire me. Sometimes a movie will. Sometimes, lying in a hammock on a hot NC afternoon with Better Homes & Garden in my hands will inspire me to do something new and fresh. Being on a drift boat for 8 hours? Not so much!!! I cannot tell you how many times in my 60+ years I’ve done that!!! LOL.

  7. Brave lady indeed, to go out on a big boat in the big ocean like that. I’m not sure I’d want to.

    I like how you found the joy in the midst of the disappointment. You didn’t get what you came for, but perhaps you got what you didn’t even know you needed. How prone we are to miss moments like that. Thank you for pausing, taking it all in, and sharing with us.
    Marie recently posted…Five Minute Friday: InspireMy Profile

  8. Hey, Anita! I’ve had a few of those experiences. Not with birds, persay, but I’m glad you wrote about the disappointment. A wise woman told me we can be both grateful and disappointed in the same breath. Your post reminds me of this. Love your photos too! They are not a disappointment at all! I hope the rest of your birding adventures have been somewhat successful!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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