Sunday, April 14, 2013


April 14. 2013

Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.



Hello Bruce


One day in New York City I was standing on the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets. (In NY it's pronounced Howstin, as in how now brown cow.) I was waiting for the light to change so I could cross. On the other corner was a family looking at a map. The man crossed over to me and, in a think German accent, politely asked me "Vich vay is vest?" I pointed to the west. He thanked me and went back to his family.

It is very easy for tourists to get lost in New York. In fact it's very easy for New Yorkers to get lost there. In my early years, growing up in the New York City area, my destinations were limited and predictable. But when my career began I had to travel all around the city for interviews, auditions and jobs. And sometimes I would come out of a subway onto an avenue and not know vich vay vas vest.

One day I got smart, went to EMS and bought a compass. It was a small pocket model but it was a good one. That compass allowed me to know where I was on the perpendicular tapestry of Manhattan.

A compass works because the magnetized needle on its face always points to the magnetic north pole of the earth. That's an amazing astronomical fact that most compass user take for granted.

High above the north pole there is a star, Polaris, the north star, "the star to every wandering bark." The north star has been used for centuries by marinas to chart their way through the oceans because it is in a fixed position, another amazing astronomical fact. Seamen can find their position and direction by observing how the other stars are in relation to it.

We all have our own magnetic north pole our own north star which always enables us to know where we are and where we are going. It can also tell us if and where we have gone astray. "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds." Through all the temptations, opportunities, influences, entertainments, activites and obstacles of the urban or natural jungles or over the roaring waves, through all the hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts it is the one thing we love the most that guides us home. Love is "the ever fixed mark that looks on tempest and is never shaken."

Love is not just hope, affection or desire. It's all of those things and more. It's that which once you are focused on it there is a calm in the waves, a sense of peace, an awakening and a realization of who you are, where you are and what you really want in life. The most important thing in your life is what you love. Fix your sights on that star and follow it.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up



Geo. said...

" is the one thing we love the most that guides us home." I delight in how you can combine two enigmas, love and home, and emerge with a truth like that. Fine post, DB.

Beth said...

Beautifully written, Dana!