Where do personal affinities come from? Favorite colors? Desire for rainy vs. sunny days? Preferences, likes, and inclinations? Are they learned? Passed on? Associative, or aspirational?
Is my daughter–18-months old at the time of writing this–forming her affinities right now? Is her city upbringing instilling a desire to be around people and noise? Am I informing some other proclivities? Did her early liking of sweet potatoes ultimately lead to my eagerness to buy and make sweet potatoes which further enforced her liking of sweet potatoes?
Chicken or egg stuff, I suppose.
I don’t mean to wax philosophic. Far from it. It’s often been said–and rightly, I think–that we are what we like. Our favorite music, books, foods, types of friends, surroundings, etc. are more “us” than the DNA in our cells and the look upon our faces. We don’t just inhabit the lives we live, we cultivate the lives we live, constructing them over time and growing annoyed or despondent when they fail to live up to our internal image.
My life, of course, is filled with such affinities, some that can be traced back to upbringing, or to a nostalgia for my upbringing, and some that come from another place, some place I can’t seem to visit or understand.
That place, I’ve always known, is on a rocky, foggy shore overlooking an angry ocean. Such a scene is painted in many hues of gray: the sky, weathered woodwork, dampened roping, and salty mist is all from the same palette. As a result, I love everything associated with maritime (including, it should be noted, the very word maritime): the songs, the smoke, the culture. I read about ships and shipwrecks, gravitate toward smoky meats and fishes, prefer days where I’m rained in, prefer walking in the rain, took my honeymoon in the Canadian Maritimes, eating our first week of marriage through mussels, oysters, salmon, and lobster. It was love amongst love (even if my wife didn’t necessarily share the same loves.)
So I’ll always dream of retreating one day to the sea, or as close to the sea as I can to spend the rest of my days in that damp, ghost-given memory that I’m either reaching toward or back for. It’s in me as much as it’s something I’m longing to attain. Either way it’s me.
And so this video comes along. Against the smooth, cracked boulders at the end of the world, or Newfoundland, it’s good to know that this band is out there doing God’s work. Or something like it. For me. For all of us.