Playing in Tampa Bay
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Playing in Tampa Bay
Re Metau - Playing in Tampa BayNatural Energy
November 2006
 
As children, we are free to soak up stories and fairy-tales, free to run, jump and play, free to puzzle over and pretend, free to imagine, dream and invent. But this chance to be driven by our basic instincts is short lived. Beyond childhood, our imagination withers, our impulses are squelched, our memories recede. After adolescence, play is put aside, structure is put in place, and mundane routine fills the hours. As adults we are discouraged from wasting too much time at play by labeling it childish.

I've read theories which indicate the human species, unlike all other species on our planet, is exempt from the need for natural instincts. In our culture, instinct is devalued as an inferior function assigned to animals with no ability for intelligent thought. Rather than reacting to biological stimulation, intelligence is considered nobler, more dignified, admired and desired. We are urged to rise above our instincts, lest we fall out of the orderly influence of society and back into the wild hands of nature. But as a result, we do not wholly reap the rewards provided by following our natural urges.

Instinctual activity supplies powerful physiological stimulation to all members of the animal kingdom. On any scale, grand or small, nature provides her species with this surge of energy for as long as that species is wired with the spirit to exist. Watch a tiger's haunches twitch, see his pupil's dilate, take note of the energy radiating from him as he chases down his prey. Watch the loggerhead traverse the vast ocean to nest, watch the foal wobble then run, watch the spider spin a web, watch the hound trail a scent, watch the bumble bee gather pollen. Instincts are like electricity running through an animal's veins, powering his craving toward maintaining his specie's unique place in the ecosystem. This is beyond survival; this is fulfilling the intense craving Mother Nature has for balance through diversity. Flipping the switch on your instincts fills your being with the exhilarating voltage of life.

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When was the last time you felt butterflies in your chest? How long has it been since you wanted to dance and spin from sheer excitement triggered by some internal rapture? When did you last follow your instincts to roar? Hopefully, there are many moments throughout your life when your spirit soars with the joy of your existence. For Don and I, this occurs as soon as we untie the lines or hoist the anchor and take flight on the wings of our sails.

No need to delay; no need to pack. We've got everything with us; we've got everything we need on board. Often we are welcomed into the realm of the wild by schools of dolphin. We can't help but heed their encouragement to "Come play with us! Come laugh with us! Come frolic, come leap, come soar with us!" Always we are giddy with anticipation about the experiences we're sure to have. What is on that island over there? What is under the sea over there? Where will we end up if we just follow the wind?

When Don and I are sailing, our conversation is peppered with stories from previous adventures, philosophical rhetoric about the moment and eager anticipation for things to come. Our hearing sharpens, we become aware of scents, our eyes are focused, and our skin bristles with every sensation. Our instincts become heightened and energetic excitement is surging through our bodies. A new experience is our prey and we are on the hunt once again. We are at the will of the wind, influenced by the current, and totally in the dominion of Mother Nature. We are being human in its most basic and defining form and we are connected to the universe once again.

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"Not all who wander are lost." ~ R.J. Tolkien