The ship of this not quite so ancient mariner has arrived in the doldrums yet again. Unscheduled, unplanned yet always on time, this annual sojourn in the land of idleness always appears on my itinerary in the last weeks of February.
Now one would think that such regularity, such predictability would give rise to highly effective coping strategies, or even better yet a calculated manoeuvre to avoid this navigational hazard, but no. This mariner, vintage, but not ancient (but maybe a tad repetitive?), charts the same course every year: smile and wave at the Candlemas Day lighthouse on Feb. 2, bask in the joy and warmth of Valentine hearts and flowers, and then ...
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I flail. I toss and turn. I toil away at the coal pile of self-recrimination until one day, time and place click together and it dawns on me that I've sailed into this sea before. In a guilt-laden lament to my beta reader friend earlier today I wrote that I "was dead in the water" with no writing to offer her as our meeting date loomed. Time and place snapped together. Aha!
I know where I am. I know that soon the winds will pick up and I'll be on my way again under full sail. In the mean time, I'll sit up on deck and befriend the calm, enjoy the stillness and await the freshening breeze.
All is well.
©2014 April Hoeller