Months of stressful multitasking has left my mind and body depleted. It took extraordinary planning to carve out a few precious hours. Could a short break have a notable effect on my spirit?
After a parent teacher meeting, I take the slow way home, a road that winds through woods and fields. I let my heart lead me, took the some time off from work, took my last look at emails and social media, and disabled most phone alerts.
Why did I have so many alerts set for things that don’t matter? Isn’t there enough urgency in the world without manufacturing more?
After creating some distance from the demands of my life, I head to the ocean, armed with everything I needed: good coffee, sunglasses, a pad of paper and a pen.
I set out on more winding roads. April foliage looks bare but the start of life is all around. You can smell it in the air.
As I turned a corner, the ocean came into the view. The waves were slate with a soft baby blue skimming the surface. A mist rose blurring the boundary between liquid and gas, softening the rocky edge of a pine topped island. Oh to live on a spot of land surrounded by the beating ocean.
Each turn of my wheel, I feel more and more giddy. I called to myself to keep this real. Is it possible that the ocean means this much to me?
Perhaps it can. Perhaps the code of the waters are embedded in my DNA.
On the edge of the beach, I notice a gray haired woman with a white cane. If I lose my sight, I will still come to the ocean. When I open the car door, a rush of cold sea air greets me. I take a deep breath and taste kelp. The woman’s face turns to the sound of my car door closing. I walk up and greet her. Her face radiates with the love of the ocean. She cannot see that mine does as well. I talk about the sounds, and smells and cold air. I want to share my joy in with her in the ways she knows the shore.
I sit on the sand and close my eyes and the sound of the waves become more complex. The sun is warm on my face. The air cold.
Yes. Even without sight I would love this place.
I open my eyes. The churning of the sea makes me feel stable. Blues and greens mixing with white. The rhythm matches my breath. I catch a glimpse of larger waves through the rocks. I want to get closer. I take my shoes off and walk along the beach.
I climb the steps that take me to the tops of the headlands and walk high above the sea. I am reminded of Mendocino though the scale of the Atlantic cliffs are much smaller.
I see a sign and wonder is this a trail marker or a warning.
The sounds of the waves deepen. I walk to the end of the point and sit cautiously on the edge.
I can feel my hour winding down. Slowly, like one rises from a massage, I prepare to rejoin the busy world.
I walk along the path listening to the birds signing in the barren branches.
In the car, I turn back only the most essential alerts.
And I answer my own question. A well planned hour can have a notable effect on my spirit.