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.
They looked for glistening silver wings. They looked for radiance. They listened for voices so beautiful their throats would clench.
They overlooked their frowning neighbor who volunteered in the homeless shelter on the weekends.
They looked for the guardians that would give them their heart’s desire. They looked for signs that their lives were charmed. They listened for a wisdom greater than their own.
They overlooked the kind and gentle support they offered to the tantrumming child that gave his mother a few moments to compose.
They looked for majestic and brilliant beings and overlooked angels in their midst.
This morning thinking of what life would be like if we all explored the angelic within ourselves and others.
Long slender fingers with unsightly large joints.
Flexible. Too flexible. Tips curved up slightly.
Always chewed and bitten. Cuticles, not nails.
Now with scars from gardening. From cooking. From art.
Now spotted from brilliant sun light while biking. While kayaking.
Now wrinkled from years passing.
Quickly. Far too quickly.
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I’m a lifelong Democrat who loves my country. I’m definitely a liberal. In all my years, I don’t believe that I have ever met someone who wants to take away all guns. They are out there I’m sure but most lefties like me want some common sense changes.
I want guns and accessories with some features regulated. Brand name and the look of the gun makes absolutely no difference to me. You are right, the hunting rifle with it’s wood finish looks traditional and yet does exactly the same thing.
Here’s what I want: Reduce the number of rounds before reloading. Reduce the number of shots a person can fire per minute. Eliminate gun show and private sale loopholes. Improve the background checks process. Ensure that violent behaviors such as domestic violence are reported. Provide a mechanism for families to be able to address suicidal family members. Too many veterans are lost because trauma left them suicidal and they had access to a gun during their darkest hour.
I think some conservatives like yourself could collaborate with us lefties on a few common sense solutions.
Please help me remember a time when we could work together.
Once, our people valued compromise. Differences in opinion were not reasons to scream insults. There was power in restraint and a common code of decency.
Please tell me that my hindsight is not just rosy nostalgia.
Part rosy and part true. Our people have a history of hate and bigotry. Waves of white supremacy have swept through our country. So many people lost their lives and livelihood to weak people driven by hate. Over and over again, the bigots have been defeated when decent people unite.
Please tell me how the old battles were won.
Many people spoke up and stood side by side. Many people risked everything to speak against hate. The risks were high but the cost of being agreeable in disagreeable times is too much to accept.
Please tell me everything will be okay.
There’s good reason to hope.
The marginalized voices have much to say. Are you ready to listen? They are ready to lead. Are you ready to follow?
The conference room was glorious. One wall of windows looked onto the bay. White sails sparked on the brilliant blue water. A pastel patchwork of houses adorned the hills. From here the city looked pristine.
Of course, she knew that appearances can be deceiving. People love to believe in the smooth glossy perfection.
She gave them what they wanted. Curls tamed into a smooth professional spunky bob. That horrible hand drawn tattoo on her collarbone expertly concealed with scar hiding make up.
She chose a cream suit, the only concession to the artfulness of her page existence was an on trend silk blouse. Gone were the layers of jewelry that brought music to every gesture. Gone were the long auburn curls and the brightly layered scarves, blouses and skirts.
The bird of paradise was now a appeared to be a dove.
Oh who was she kidding. She was never a bird of paradise, she was a raptor. A soaring raptor who caught the up drafts and soared high over the golden headlands seeking pray in the fog cooled earth below.
Today’s prompt inspired me to rewrite the opening of a longer piece.
The library was out of free glasses. Every store for miles was sold out. I moped around with no desire to look at shadows. The clouds rolled in.
I looked away and lined and used my sunglasses to shield my phone camera lens.
Some how the combination captured a reflection of the partial solar eclipse. You can see the crescent in the darkest part of the cloud.
With a little imagination, we can do anything.
No more spoon fed ideas!
Puréed politics is as unpalatable as over-cooked carrots spun through the food processor.
Talking heads in 1950s suits telling us what to think is so retro (and not in a good way like that mid-century modern you’ve been eying).
If your words are sharp, short and fire rapidly, think for a moment: have you heard this before, in exactly this way. If you have you know you have been memified.
Let everyone know, our brains are not empty waiting to be filled with their memes that crowd out original thought. Imagination needs the space that the memes take up. So throw them away like moldy cheese.
We have been playing it too safe. Think of your worst ideas.
The worse the better.
For brilliance rises not in the safety of acceptable ideas that carry no risk. Brilliance bursts into life from outrageous ill conceived unconventional thoughtS.
Failed ideas are the food of the precious few.
You cannot fail if you open a void
By now, most of us have seen the sketch that went viral. In spite of its simplicity (or because of it) a thief was caught. I get it. A few lines and a couple of dots captured the visual essence of a man.
Less is more in the detective business.
Saturday over breakfast, my son and I decided to throw our towel into the forensic artist business.
I offer the following sketch to my lovely neighbors in case their dog should go out galavanting and get lost on their way home.
You would surely recognize their dog at a glance if posted on any poster.
Please understand I have complete faith in the careful puppy parenting of our neighbors. I anticipate that this image will never be needed for anything greater than my own portfolio.
I also present my talented son’s forensic sketch.
He is seeking a long lost friend from kindergarten.
The image is a good likeness though perhaps less effective than my own.
I do not mean to throw my son under the bus but if a position for a forensic artist becomes available, I am the better candidate for the job. Our family would be better served by an income spent on food than an income spent on the latest and greatest hockey sticks.