These Summer days I tend to waken early with the piping call of dawn.    Squinting as quietly as possible at my Day Book with its list of tasks to be done, (most of which I don’t do anyway), I read:  Phone Lynda; make a cake;  sew John’s sleeve;  think about albatross. 

I’m ticking them off in my mind and putting in my mental to do today list, when I stumble across the albatross.

 Why should I think about an albatross?    I picture the albatross.    I have seen them at Otago, NZ,   On land like an enormous white seagull with huge feet and in the air, so light and graceful and with such a spread of wing they resemble a glider.   Think about albatross.

 I think about the Ancient Mariner with the albatross hung round his neck.    I can’t remember how it got there – had he shot it ?– but anyway his salvation was secured because he saw some lowly worm of some kind on the deck of the ship, and ‘he blessed them unawares’.    I’m not sure that in my present situation this is terribly helpful, but I bless all lowly worms in  any case.

 Is it a metaphor about the solitary and the partnered?    The albatross wanders the Southern oceans of the world for five to seven years alone, and then returns to where he came from.   The male gets back a week or two before the female and begins to prepare for her arrival.   Sometimes she is late and he begins to get anxious.    If their partnership is successful, they produce one chick in every 5 – 7 years and may produce 12 offspring in a breeding lifetime.    When the chick flies his maiden flight he leaves them altogether, and he does not return for 7 or so years.

 There are many extrapolations that could be drawn from an albatross story, but none of them seem exactly pertinent.    I put on my glasses and peer at the list.

 Think about RELAXATION.    (Those glasses do need cleaning.)   Think about relaxation.   How typical of me to THINK about relaxation instead of doing it.   The idiocy of the whole thing appeals to me.  Albatross is nothing like relaxation.    Also I can’t read my own notes…

 I settle back to think about relaxation.    Then I think, to pot with it.   I’d rather think about the albatross.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.


  1. Carolyn Hulatt says:

    Suppse one of the extrapolations might be that although the albatross wanders the world alone for seven years, he still returns to his mate and worries if she’s late, therfore normality and routine are important to even the albatross, who during it’s wanderings will have seen many strange and wonderful things. For all of us life in many ways is a solitary journey, with journeys if not from place to place, then within the mind, or spirit. Wherever our dreams & travels may take us, how much nicer not to be like the lonesome albatross with it’s peripatetic lifestle but to enjoy a greater degree of place & permanence. Few want to be forever wandering the earth, or their own phsyche but to have a fuller sense of belonging to place and oneanother. Poor albatros, I feel rather sorry for it. There’s nothing like the familiar & home, particularly when one has been travelling from the oher side of the world!

    • adhocannie says:

      Yes, wise advice and I agree with it. I saw a pait of albatross at Otago where one was trying to get airborne (they need sufficient wind to get uplift) and he/she couldn’t and had to waddle back to his/her partner, who was however very consolatory. As for feeling sorry for the Albatross, it’s a magnificent bird that dwarfs in size and elegance almost every other bird you could name, and both pursues its mysterious and solitary pathway and mates for life – how do they know to return within 10 days of each other? – and lives a long time. So revered was its image that sailors regarded it as death to harm one. So no need to feel sorry for the albatross.

  2. Moira McNair says:

    Saw male albatrosses on a Galapagos island sitting patiently waiting for their females to arrive home, and thought how refreshing for it to be this way round, for a change!

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