Rise and Shine
I woke up early today and drove the beach to witness sunrise.
It has been almost two years since I’ve done this, breaking a resolution to go at least four times a year.
I meditated and kept a watchful eye as the wind swept all around me as I waited. I looked up and caught a dawdling moon behind me.
The waves were strong and the wind roared in my ears when I faced the ocean head-on. As always, I felt small and powerless. Humans have conquered nearly all our natural predators. The few times I have glimpsed a lion, a shark or a tiger, protective barriers made me safe and took away half of the experience of awe.
A truly awesome experience consists of both astonishment and fear. It is only at the edge of an ocean that I get the sensation I could be swallowed whole.
Being small doesn’t terrify me. It’s a thrill. Sunrise over an ocean reminds me that I am on the a mostly liquid, blue planet three doors down from a medium-sized star. As I spin around on this planet, I catch a glimpse of our star, the sun, as it illuminates our world and brings tactile warmth to my skin. My existence, when viewed from this long lens, is nothing short of miraculous.
click. clack. beep.
Just as the sun was really starting to flash her glory, my camera battery died a death I didn’t expect. Just as well, I only need a few pictures to capture the moment. Too many and they become redundant. One scrolls past quietly labeling sunrise over the roll, but never really looking at them. With only a few pictures, it switches from generic to specific.
This particular sunrise. This fleeting moment.
It is the same with writing. You can’t use all the words at once. It just doesn’t make sense. A long time ago, I started a list of words one couldn’t fully understand unless they knew God. I abandoned the list when it became clear it already existed. It’s called the dictionary. God is all words, the whole of language. To tell a story, to create meaning, we must select only a few. Eliminate even more words, until only the essential remain, and you create a poem.
This was the last shot before my camera stopped. I wanted to catch the sun’s reflection move across the ocean right to me.
Once the sun found its proper place in the sky, I didn’t know when to leave. A part of me wanted to stay forever. Another part longed to kiss my beloveds good morning. I both missed them and relished their absence. As a mother I need to both share and protect my spiritual life from my family. I need to be the me that is just me, as well as the me that is a part of us.
I stretched my yogi body.
I told myself I would rise when the sun blinded me or when the tide touched my toes.
I strolled along the ocean, collecting seashell souvenirs for children I will not take to the beach today.
But someday, I will.
I will pull them from their beds, still in their pyjamas, and lead them through the path of sea grass to the dark edge of the ocean where they will watch and wait for the sun to make the world familiar again.
But today they must be content without an experience of their own, with only a mother who witnessed the sun rise over the ocean, illuminating her country and continent, until it was too bright to see anything but light.