Year of the Diver, July

There are treasures here, and reefs of small wonders

In the Year of the Diver, I fully expected to become lost in Oceans of Disorientation. What I didn’t expect was the weather. Torrential storms, water cyclones, and blankets of dense fog brought in waves by wicked, world-spanning problems. For all of us, these patterns and systems have brought a patchwork of uncertainty that renders our navigational tools useless and our well-charted plans defeated. If we’re lucky, we emerge from the storm for a few moments of clarity and calm as another looms on the horizon.

Water cyclone over Lake Buttes des Morts, June 2020 Water cyclone over Lake Buttes des Morts, June 2020

In the last few months I’ve often retreated toward the safe beacons of lighthouses and seaside cabins in sheltered coves, but often I’ve had to stay afloat using only my wits and whatever compass rose might be at hand to guide me. I know I’m not alone. For each of us we may feel isolated and adrift, struggling to move in any intended direction. As I wrote in my April diver check in, I’m still in a state of trying to maintain seaworthiness, my “daily priority is stability and security in my own environment and doing my part to help others in my community stay safe and secure.”

But, even as I stay moored in my home harbor rather than venturing out toward deeper waters and dives, looking back I realize—there are treasures here, and reefs of small wonders. Projects with more meaningness than I could have hoped for have emerged. Writing about creativity, writing about the web and pattern languages, and a project with Alex about our kitchen adventures that I just barely hinted at when I chose this word. I am painting more freely and at a lively pace. I helped my dad repair a tractor.

These projects feel like new garden beds, slowly grown and tended, and emerging in their own time. It’s impossible to know how they might grow, but they have a sense of life and emergence that I’m excited to pay attention to. They feel like they’ve been planted in land primed for long cycles of growth and evolution. In this way I’ve practiced enjoying unknowing, being surprised at what might happen and improvising with the changing tide.

In my daily patterns, I feel less like a floundering swimmer and more like an experienced diver, comfortable in my gear and in the rhythms of diving. I am more wary, having faced challenges head on and noted which strategies don’t work so I’m ready and steeled for next time. I’ve mastered and invented new navigational tools and fantastic maps to brave the waters and avoid my common self sabotage of overwork and over commitment. I’ve cultivated new patterns of dips and dives that leaves more time for myself, my close relationships, and my interests.

As a result, I feel more connected in more ways to a wondrous and convivial crew, a community of kindred people near and far, old friends and new. Perhaps this community feeling will emerge even more strongly in the second half of the year of the diver.

Six months behind, six months ahead. More storms may be in the forecast—the light is on in the lighthouse for you, if you need it. See you in October.