Several years ago, Annelene Decaux changed everything when she taught me about Boats on the Water.
“It’s like this,” She said, or something like it; time has faded the specifics. “Love is a lake, and each of us is paddling around in our own little boat. Sometimes we paddle toward each other, sometimes alongside, and sometimes we paddle away. The question is never whether or not we love someone, because there is no way off the lake. The only question is, from what distance?”
There are some people who we want to paddle so close to, we can reach out and hold hands. Others we need to love from so far away that we may never see or hear from them ever again. Our boats are almost always in motion, moving closer and farther from each other, depending on the context, conversation, company, or astrological configuration (if you’re into that kind of thing).
I thought of this recently while I was hanging out with an ex-boyfriend. While we were having lunch, I was loving him so much I thought my heart would explode. At first I wondered why we had to break up for me to feel this unflinching unconditional unyielding devotion. And then I remembered boats on the water. For whatever reason, during the time we were together, our boats were too close for me. Now that they’re a little further apart I feel a rightness for right now that helps me feel all the love between us.
Since learning about boats on the water, I have discovered that no one ever really goes away in the way that matters most. People can leave, move, die, breakup, or simply grow apart, but the only thing changing is the distance between our boats; the love never has to leave.