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.

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