So what exactly do a Carnival cruise, a fountain, Eat, Pray, Love, and dolphins have in common?
Strangely enough, they all intersected while I was on my 10-year anniversary cruise to the Bahamas last week. I had brought along the book Eat, Pray, Love to read and one morning I’d woken up early and left a sleeping husband to go up to Lido Deck for breakfast and reading beside the sea.
Liz Gilbert was writing about her trip to Italy and how though she loved the art and architecture and fountains of the country, depression and loneliness were still hard to shake. She mentioned that she had found a couple of bilingual (Italian/English) books of poetry, one book being the book that inspired this blog, The Wild Iris.
Here is the title poem of the book. The particular lines that Liz Gilbert mentioned are in bold.
The Wild Iris
by Louise Gluck
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death
Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.
It is terrible to survive
buried in the dark earth.
Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.
You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:
from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
I had to put the book down for a minute. Isn’t it incredible that something so meaningful to me was also meaningful to the author of Eat, Pray, Love? And that “something” was a poem! For a poetry lover in a mostly non-poetry loving world, it was a profound moment.
The second day of the cruise, Steven and I had an up-close dolphin experience. (Unfortunately we have no pictures of that due to the exorbitant prices of photos – and we’d already paid a lot just for the dolphin part – but that’s another post.) We got to greet, hug, and kiss a dolphin named Tamera. Then we held onto a boogie board while Tamera pushed us with her nose to our feet across the water. It was so cool! Finally, we got to swim and dive with Tamera in deep water. Being up-close with a dolphin was so amazing. It is something I’ve wanted to do ever since reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light. In this book, a teenager named Vicky befriends several dolphins and finds that she can communicate with them. Vicky’s astounding and lovely relationship with the dolphins – and the dolphins’ intuition, capability for emotion, and intelligence – have always given me a soft spot in my heart for these beautiful creatures. Once again, I found a deep connection with one of my favorite authors while on my trip.
Best of all, one of my favorite quotes from A Ring of Endless Light is, “Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light.”
This really fits right in with Liz Gilbert’s experience in Eat, Pray, Love. After such devastation of a failed marriage and a subsequent failed relationship, she saw many dark days before she was able to see the light again.
The cruise was wonderful. Steven and I loved having time together without kids. He had even had the crew decorate our cabin with Happy Anniversary banners and decor, complete with a gift basket and champagne!