We had a plan: milk these three beach weeks until the very end. A good plan, considering the 16 straight days of sunshine. A plan destined for an untimely demise in the face of Florence the Relentless.
Tomorrow we’ll leave, two days early, while the sun still shines. While the brutal winds and surf continue to gather strength to the east. While there’s still a semblance of normal for everyone who lives here year round.
It’s time to go, pick up the reins of life at home and leave this little sandbar until the calendar brings us back to summer. I look harder to find the sun at home, peeking around the angles of our neighborhood for a glimpse of color, of light. I need to work for dawn when I’m home instead of stepping up a few steps into the rose and gold and orange and silver gift handed to me daily since the end of August.
So I’ll work a little harder to find dawn and breath and calm. And I’ll keep an open heart and mind that the sandbar makes it through another onslaught to welcome us back again.
I count on a stretch of time at the beach just to sit and listen. Depending on her mood, the ocean soothes in quiet laps. It spits and snarls out the last of storms far beyond the horizon I see from my little perch. It teases small children determined to make the waves in the shallows bow to their dominance. It buoys surfers ranging from wobbly beginners to lithe, confident riders who swing up, cruise in.
Quiet or loud, placid or tempermental, the ocean is constant in its reach and withdrawal.
I count on a stretch of time at the beach to just sit and watch. The sky fascinates morning to night (even as I avoid the midday). Dawn is a rowdy orange and vibrant pink that give any sunset a run for the money. Dawn is gray and lavender stealing the dark from the sky. Dawn is water that reflects steel then silver that gives way to blue under the relentless rise of the sun every day.
Evening offers a soothing stretch of quiet that waits for the moon rise and the stars to blink on. The mind lets go of the day as the lungs breathe in the salt air in rhythm with the surf. And when the stars blink into focus, you recognize how small we are.
I begin each day in the dark before dawn, I end in the dark after sunset. Constant, unceasing watch over ocean and sky, to fill the soul before heading back in to start or end the day.
When I’m not here, the surf still dances on the sand. The sun still rises, the moon still glides in waxing and waning grace.
My job is to dip into the overflowing soul and remember the constancy of the surf, the sun and the moon. And breath in and out in unison.
A while back, for 100 weeks, I wrote a Thursday post I titled Mileposts in the Distance. One hundred little slices of a life featuring crossroads, empty nests, half-marathons, family, dying swans and stashes of makeup. Why did I stop? At the time I’d convinced myself there was little left to say without repeating myself.
A good joke that, from a person who retells stories at the drop of the hat.
The itch to create strengthened over the past year. But in order to create, you must show up on a routine basis.
I’ve blown back the cobwebs, resuscitated Mileposts (at least on Thursdays) and taken back this space. No plans other than to show up here on a very regular basis and talk about what’s on my mind.
The best days start with an empty palette, a clean face. You take a soft brush in a steady hand then add sweeps of color to enhance, define, embrace. And on the best days, the results make the day, the face, show reflect the best side of the person.
The sun is a reclusive diva this May. It hides behind lowered, gloomy, dour clouds until it decides to blaze through the gray in the waning moments of day and tease the eyes with gorgeous light. It takes that promise below the horizon only to reconsider through the night and shroud itself at the next dawn.
January flew by in a haze of travel, sinus pain and snow. Our first blizzard in decades kept me in place much longer than I really like to stay still. But when your head whirls after movement, or even just conversation, staying put became order number one.
I envisioned taking root in our new home and nearly new city this year. In fact Root(ed) is my word and work in 2016. But thirty one days in, I know I didn’t put 2015 completely to rest the way you would put a garden for winter. I refused to sweep away the loose thoughts, old distractions and emotions that no longer suit and so there’s a tangled mess above the surface. I can only hope there’s some Secret Garden work going on that will stun as the growing season approaches.
Looking at the bounty of snow covered photos I took in the last week, I keep returning to the view outside my office window of the dormers across the way.
When the storm set in you could barely tell the sky from the roof line. Pretty much the way I allowed the old year to blur into the new.
As the storm cleared, the colors turned brilliant. The delicious possibilities under that achingly blue sky tempted me to ignore the blurred tangle underfoot and grab onto something new. A something, I’ve learned from experience, that would ultimately land in an unclear space and add to the tangle.
The view today as the work of uncovering what’s underneath continues drip by drip by drip. I’m sure I know what lies in that tangle of emotions but until I allow things to move — to drip away — I won’t be certain.
So this 31st day of the year will be one of clearing. I have blank pages to fill with thoughts. No order, just grabbing that first exposed emotional branch and seeing how easily it slips free. No judgment, no finding fault, just opening up space in order to see what takes root.
A rainy morning for a walk in Frederick. A bit of a rough go for a repaired knee, but out the door I went on what’s become a preferred route of sorts: down an alley to the creek then winding my way to the park and the looping around back to home.
I’m not sure when the route will become habit. Old brick sidewalks don’t lend themselves to an unconscious walk — I have to constantly look down to make certain of sure footing. The practice of these daily walks has an integral element of being absolutely present — despite nattering body parts. Because if I’m not fully aware of where I’m going and where the next step goes, I’m likely to step in a way that send pain up the right leg.
I spend so much time looking down I can feel my shoulders closing in over my heart head lowered to look at what’s at my feet. When I look at my photos, so many of them remind me to look up.
Adding to this week’s practice is finding a balance between the all the way up and the all the way down to find that middle.
Week one of this little experiment of movement and creation is on the books. I get up and out at meet my 9 am goal for a walk, then I find that the rest of the day falls into place. Well, full disclosure: after an extremely busy Friday and Saturday (16,000+ steps each day), I decided two short walks would be the extent of Sunday’s movement, totals be damned. (It was a respectable 7500.)
My mind isn’t responding to the command to write nearly as well. I’ve dutifully sat down, pecked out words and let the story figure itself out. Right now, I’m not giving over to the showing up, I seem to want to direct and control exactly where the words will take me. Should the words be funny? Wise? A slice of life? A philosophical slant to something that happened on the walk?
For week two, the goal is to show up and begin. And will see where I end up.
Photos, though, are not a problem. Today was the first truly cold morning with frost on the park grasses and mists on the water. And then there was the reflection of early light that set this photo on fire.