My Life as a Sea Anemone

Sea anemones are among my favorite sea creatures. Fortunately Disney’s crew didn’t make them into a character in  Little Mermaid. It would be a grave injustice, They don’t like the press.

They’re lovely just as they are, in their shy beauty. Colorful, vibrant. Content to stay in one place and ingest new nutrients. They stay perched and open and lovely until their space is invaded, and then a quick poke sends them into contraction and protection.

I’ve been noticing my own movement from open loveliness to lovely solitude. Experiencing that comforting feeling of closing in around myself when the way of it seems too harsh.

Recently a young man I knew and loved was washed out to sea. Ouch. A poke. I’ve needed to pull inside to digest the news. I’ll expand out again to show up for his grieving family. That’s what I simply do, in my world. Usually I’m among the first to show up with a casserole, a sign of my Midwestern roots.

But this time I needed to contract, to absorb the shocking news. I needed to let his death at such a young age teach me what I keep forgetting about the preciousness of life.

Anyone who’s touched a sea anemone knows that there’s a soft sucking on your finger when they’re poked. They’re biologically designed to get nourishment from the invader.

This has been my nourishment. To savor the memory of Mark’s smile, his gentle goodness on the planet. To simply resonate with the memory as well as the loss of his being here on the planet.

To wonder at the mystery of the sea, a force of such beauty and such destruction.

To experience the ouch of this grief.

To learn what I’m supposed to know from the enormity of such loss.

And this is plenty.

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