About a year ago J and I came out here to the island while our daughter was having a retreat in our house with a singing group from college. A hurricane had just passed through, and the storm surge was in full force, coinciding with high tide.
The ocean that we watched from the shore was unrecognizable. None of us had ever seen pounding surf as powerful and incessant as the raging seas crashing into the shores of our little island. The spray went as high as the treetops. Part of a seawall next door was ripped away. It was exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. Not much rehearsing was accomplished while all that was going on outdoors – it captured one’s attention even more irresistibly than flashing scenes and jumpy camera shots on television.
It’s hard to believe that this morning’s sea is the same body of water. It is no wonder that life on the edge of the sea is appealing to so many. It is a never ending story. Even between sunrise and a mid-day walk the character of the place feels entirely different.
Life is the same way, even without the sea. Yesterday was a whirlwind of wonderfulness. After my exuberant dawn greeting the day was filled with gourmet meals, an island-wide treasure hunt that led me to many gifts in odd places, a riotous game in front of the fire – and more secret plans.
The funniest part of the day was the fact that while J was planning all these surprises for me, I had been planning a 50 ½ birthday surprise for him. The four kids had been negotiating secret plans from each parent for a month, laughing at us and trying to figure out how they could make both ideas work at the same time.
J was sent out on a hunt of his own in the evening, and returned to a rapidly revised party scene with cake and gifts. He was thoroughly confused – then pretty happy.
It was a rich, rewarding, full, and blissfully happy day to tuck away in the memory bank. Everyone went to bed tired and content, very glad to look forward to a day of sleeping in, with no secret plans.
After all that, the house felt especially quiet to my busy mind at 5am. The peaceful swish of low tide on the rocks, the calming atmosphere of an island morning embedded by fog, all felt accentuated in their stillness. Those moments of stillness are as important as the others – the joyful, high energy, laughter filled wonderments. Stillness and quiet allow me to embrace the fullness of life, to process and internalize and infuse my soul with every rich moment. Then I can hold on to all of it.