Sandwiched between the grocery trip from hell (a hell in which I would swear that someone had secretly given my children a couple of Red Bulls each) and a Mom’s Night Out I organized for my Mothers of Multiples club, it happened. I was driving, a block or two from home, whiny insanity still echoing in my ears, when I came around a turn and saw this.
A sunset. How cliché. I mean really Pam? A sunset? Yes, really. There was no question. I pulled onto the shoulder, put on my hazards, and got out of the car. The 4” heels of my favorite brown boots sunk into the rain-saturated earth, and the hem of my too-long jeans got soaked, as I got out of my car to look, and breathe, and take that picture with the camera on my phone. It’s not a great shot. I didn’t take it to be a great shot. I am many kinds of artist, but a photographer is not one of them, and even if I were, the camera on my phone is not up to the job of capturing what I saw with my eyes and my soul. I took this photo for me, to remind me. To remind me to look, and breathe, and take moments as they are offered. Moments of grace.
When I lived in California, pre-kids, there was a place halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz called Pescadero Beach. When the tide is out, it has a sandy beach, but there are better beaches for sand and surf. But it’s quieton colder days it’s often desertedand the waves splash on the rocks like a postcard, and there are tiny perfect creatures in endless tide pools, and one rock perfectly shaped for sitting. For sitting and looking and breathing.
I got engaged on that beach, and you would think that would be what I remember most about it, but it isn’t. I remember quiet days there by myself, listening to the birds, breathing in the living smell of the sea, feeling the wind and salt spray on my face and in my hair, watching the sun set on the water, opening myself up and quieting my mind and leaving a space to let grace come in.
I don’t leave that space much anymore.
I’m busy and stressed and overscheduled. My sleep-deprived body drops into unconsciousness as soon as I sit still. There is no room for space, no time for grace. So sometimes grace has to come along and smack me upside the head. “Hey dumb-ass, here’s a miraculous friggin’ sunset for you! Wake the hell up, you sleepwalking zombie! Wake UP!”
OK, OK, I’m awake. Now what?
I don’t know.
I don’t know is an excellent place to start.