“I am in very good anchorage here. Well supplied, and want for nothing.”
Jane Austen, Captain Harville in Persuasion
The above quote is from one of my favourite moments in all literature. It is the penultimate scene of Persuasion; the protagonist, Anne Elliot, is deep in discussion with Captain Harville, the close friend of her estranged love, Captain Wentworth.
It is a very important conversation and a crucial plot moment, but I won’t get into that because it would take me forever to get that out of my brain and onto the page. What I really want to talk about here is the turn of phrase Harville uses. He is a naval officer speaking in the terms of his trade; the “good anchorage” of which he speaks is Anne’s company and conversation. He’s fully enjoying where he is and has no need to hurry elsewhere. To me, the metaphor of being in good anchorage is just so perfect.
Most evenings, when the waters are still and all is quiet, I set anchor. I bring my basket of yarn from my room and set it beside me on the couch where I sit cross-legged in the corner. I pull the coffee table right up to the edge- laptop open, notebooks stacked, pens and pencils spread out. My phone is beside me on the arm rest and perhaps a cup of mint tea and some sort of treat. I’m completely boxed in with things, there’s no getting up to wash the dishes or go the bathroom. The couch is my boat, my anchors are down for the night, and it is good.
Sometimes Addison comes home from a meeting and wants to sit on the couch with me which is entirely covered with yarn by this point to which I reply, “Too bad, sailor- I’m the captain of this ship!” Just kidding, I let him join me.
Sometimes good anchorage is lying down in a patch of shade after a long walk in the sun. Or sometimes it’s with a pot of tea on my parent’s patio. And sometimes it’s in a totally staged photo. Not just the photo itself but also in the staging of the photo- in playing with pretty things, in pouring the tea while sipping a cup of coffee and arranging the autumn throw just so, in surveying the scene and thinking to myself, “I would like to sit there”.