I found this quotation on Jonathan Carroll’s blog:
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.”
It comes from James Kavanaugh’s There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves, I think perhaps from the introduction? Because the book itself is a book of poetry.
Every once in a while, you come across a quotation that perfectly expresses what you think, who you are. And this quotation does that for me. I feel as though I’m one of the searchers. There have been times this year when I’ve been deeply unhappy, but for most of my life I’ve been relatively happy – although not, as Kavanaugh points out, content. Because I’ve always wanted something more than what I’ve had. I’ve always wanted to experience the magic of the world, and I feel as though for most of my life, it’s eluded me. I’ve seen it only in glimpses.
I’ve seen it sometimes while walking by the ocean, which is magical for me. I’ve seen it in apple orchards, or on mountains when they are covered with mist. I’ve seen it walking through cities at night. And I think in the end, that’s what I’m ambitious for: life itself. To experience it fully. There is a way of going deeply into life. You can do it by sitting quietly in a garden. You can do it by creating something, a story or a work of art. You can do it by dancing. You can do it by seeing people at night, passing you on city streets. There are all sorts of ways.
And yes, in the end you want someone who can share that with you. Someone whose love will not be a prison, because love can be a prison. It can be the strongest prison, because it can convince you to lock yourself into a life in which you’re no longer searching, in which you’re not pursuing the life you imagined for yourself. In which you give up your art, your participation in the larger life of the world. If you’re one of the searchers, you need a love that is also freedom. (Because love can free you. Loving and being loved is one way to be free.)
I’m not sure why this picture reminds me of the quotation, but it does:
It’s called “Abysm of Time,” and it’s by Edmund Dulac, from his illustrations for The Tempest. I suppose it reminds me of the quotation because Miranda is a searcher herself, wanting to understand life, waiting for love. Sitting by the ocean. And of course she has red hair, like me, and she’s wearing a dress I would love to wear myself.
Today I slept a lot, and I read and read, and then I did some work I needed to do. Dull, not particularly interesting work. But through it all I was thinking, and what I was thinking is that at this point in my life, I am more of a searcher than ever before. I want even more to find the secrets of life (because I believe that life has many secrets), to live as fully as I can.
This past year was for transformation. I emerged from it a different person than I was when it started. This next year is for starting to live as fully as possible, for learning how to do that. For searching.