Recently, I've felt a bit like an island. OK, not an island, as I'm far from stationary. But perhaps a small craft adrift in a choppy ocean. With little starfish attached to my hull, of course, and another small ship that I frequently pass in the night.
I look out to the main current and I see fleets of vessels linked together, sails high and straining against the wind, braving the storm, and I wonder why I'm not there with them. I wonder where my place amid that group is and why I seem to be struggling through the wind and rain on my own.
And then I see it. A small group of battered boats, bearing evidence of their own battle against the storm, huddling in the safety of a beautiful cove on a small island. They have their sails lowered and are anchored, peacefully floating in the still waters. And then I see that the boats are empty, the voyagers of each are nestled together on the beach with their own little starfish. Their connection is deeper and stronger than just being lashed together so that none will sink. They are supporting each other, one holding up and loving the next. They no longer feel the need to sail down the current searching for a port. Having all navigated the same way, they are content being on this island, their island, which is now my island too.
More boats are docking each day and there are enough of us now to build a little village. A place where our starfish can get bigger and will feel safe, where their feet can grow so that they can navigate the oceans and strongly cling to the rocks of our island whenever the storms hit. A place where it doesn't matter what shape their arms are or if they are vibrant pink or dusty gray. A place where they are known and loved. A place where the weary travelers can seek rest, familiar faces and support.
It's been the cold season recently and our little villagers have kept to their huts, warding off the weather. We've missed each other. Our starfish have grown, new ones have joined the tribe and we've needed to reconnect and strengthen our ties. This week we finally had the opportunity to come together, to welcome the new ones and share our stories and knowledge. It was a much needed renewal during this season of rebirth.
Sometimes I may still need to voyage out. And often I will raise my flag to that main fleet of vessels. But never more than today have I been so grateful for my villagers, my tribe, and my island.