|Art by Sonya Fu.|
|Painting, "Swing Sleep," by Bob Walkenhorst.|
Not just for ships or hot air balloons, ballast, generally, is that which gives stability. For me that means sleep of a deep and dreaming sort. It means ample quiet, not doing more than one thing at a time if I can help it, an absence of chaos, remembering how many reasons I have to be grateful. It means love and kindness among family, friends and people I don't yet know well. It is slow and glad, it smiles at beauty and humor. It can no longer tolerate exchanges which lack harmony. It rejoices at good news, weeps when sad and wishes sugar wasn't so seductive.
My ballast, my stability is solid in its softness. Patience with all I could find to criticize about myself may seem a curious stability. It is ballast in the most basic definition: it keeps me on an even keel. I begin to hiss and spark when I take up dissatisfaction with my essential being. Finding fault with self or another is the unbalanced load in the old washing machine. The shrill whine and thudding can be heard all over the neighborhood.
It smells like freesias or the older vintage scent Femme or fresh mint. It tastes like iced decaf mocha or a perfectly ripe mango. The soul is shored up with what might seem like magic spun on fairy looms but is really as simple as a cotton shirt dried on a clothesline next to the honeysuckle vine before the sun is very high. It is the wading pool filled with cold water fresh from the hose, the discovery of an Earth-like planet deep in space, it is snail mail from a friend, something that was lost being found. We grow stable and centered through the appearance of miracles, through wonder, through joy. Float on, steady as she goes.