chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: compass

the compass…

to navigate…


garibaldiThe compass has me thinking about diving. In the usually less-than-stellar visibility of the Channel Islands, we would kick along near the bottom, looking for small surprises hiding in the reef — tiny scuttling crabs, colorful nudibranchs, eels, lobsters, a little octopus pouring itself out of an abalone shell into a darkened crack in the rocky crust. We would slip through the kelp forest, glance up, perhaps catch sight of a salad-plate-size deep orange Garibaldi or a charcoal-dark bat ray, fluttering along the sand, but mostly it was a small-scale world of subtle color and elaborate disguise that rewarded patience and close inspection. It was a place I could get lost, holding the compass uselessly in front of me, as often as not surfacing to spot the shore, or the boat, taking a straight-line bearing, then descending once more for the return.

I look again at the compass, write the word: compass. I am surprised to see that it is almost compassion. Almost compassion. How did the compass squeeze itself into compassion?

In its spot on the corner of my desk, this object of mysterious compassion is not my familiar, though I am drawn to the idea of it, the usefulness of it, the language of it that I have not yet learned to speak.
garibaldi photo by Jim Haw

trying to write…

compassI fuss in my chair — scoot, add pillow, shift right, tilt screen — as if these small gestures might loose the cork. Glance around — printer, log book, mouse, coffee, compass. Why have I brought a compass, set it on the desk? It is another small prayer: show me where I am so I can see where I am going.

Outside, feathered green against the white-gray sky, the tallest tree animated with a light breeze. A twig falls from its height, then a leaf. A small, dusky bird darts right to left across the view; I watch, then another passes, left to right, much closer, nearly touching the rail, sooty and larger, perhaps a pigeon. They know what to do.

I am impatient with myself, looking in the refrigerator of my mind and finding nothing I want to eat. I stare at the compass, south-southwest, and wait.