Sanctuary

IMG_3689“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods; there is rapture in the lonely shore; there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but nature more” -Lord Byron

I found a poster when I was about 13 that had a picture of the ocean at sunrise with the text above on it. I was fascinated by the ocean, the quiet society and the thought of being at one with nature and free from the noise and chaos of the human race. Somehow I felt as though Lord Byron was just like me, seeking out the quiet places where a worn and weary soul could go to heal, to recharge and to reconnect with something outside of oneself, but yet connected somehow. I hadn’t thought of that poster in years but have a vague memory of writing the text down in a journal somewhere with the intention of seeking out those places in my world someday when I was older and a world traveler. Well, fast forward about 30 some-odd years and here I am. A world traveler with a weary soul, seeking sanctuary from the world of Man, just for a little while. The ocean greets me like a great, great, great-grandmother, opening her arms and pulling me into her embrace, while the waves crashing down are the song she sings me. My eyes drink in the colors, the beauty of the crystal-blue sky, the blinding-white clouds and the silver tops of the waves as they catch the sunlight. The air is crisp, cool and smells like a brand new start, a fresh beginning, a clean slate. The ocean’s rhythmic cadence is like a story being told to me; I am feeling as though it’s telling me a story about my true purpose, my true identity. I am not  a child of Man, I am a child of the Universe; the world is my classroom and the ocean is one of many teachers bringing me lessons about everything and nothing. Everything is connected, nothing is insignificant.

I feel calmer, although no “real” change has taken place; I am still me, I am still facing the challenges that we all face, although no two lives are the same and no two individuals will process and feel the same way about the same event, there are commonalities and connections within the human race as a whole. For me, the key is to not dwell too long in the world of Man without taking time out to reconnect with Nature, walk the pathless woods and find rapture on the lonely shore.

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Just For Fun

There are certain times throughout the day when I find myself slipping away from the present task at hand and moving towards something completely random, like perhaps what my 80th birthday party would look like, who would be there, what would I be wearing and where on Earth would we be celebrating such a fantastic event? Would I be single, widowed, divorced, living in sin or just madly in love? These thoughts keep me from feeling as though “This is all there is” and leads me to entertain thoughts of where I’d LIKE to be. I guess it’s like having a nice glass of wine; it doesn’t take you physically away from where you are, but it does tend to offer a different vibe, perspective and overall softer, gentler view of the world. Like being wrapped in a soft, comfy blanket of cashmere, it’s just that good. Since I no longer enjoy the occasional glass (or bottle, let’s be honest) of wine, these thoughts are a part of my daily escape from the mundane. They also help me to get in touch with what my dreams are for the future, what my soul is craving and what I need to change to make the future brighter and today more livable.

Today, I was knee-deep in work stuff and my brain took a sharp left and took me out of the office completely. I was transported to a pristine beach where a lone horse stood waiting for me. As I rode off into the distance, free from the responsibilities of the day, from the drudgery of the office and the oppressive heat of the valley in October (which, by the way, is supposed to be AUTUMN, not SUMMER!) I could hear my soul sigh in contentment. Of course, I did actually sigh, which brought me back to my desk, but just for those few minutes, I was completely and totally, Somewhere Else.

Daydreaming and flights of fancy are something that we did as children, without instruction or direction. It’s one of the things about kids that I just adore. They aren’t bound by reality, nor by what is possible, only by the limits of their imagination. Too often, we are forced to abandon our “childish” ways and Grow Up. I always wished to be older, never understanding how fantastic and fleeting that time of innocence and wonder really is. But just because I’m now an adult, I don’t have to surrender my childish pleasures. Ice cream for dinner, cartoons on Saturday morning (or Wednesday night, for that matter) giggling uncontrollably, blowing bubbles and flying kites are all things that I can enjoy, regardless of how many candles are on my birthday cake.

I had the pleasure of having an incredible woman in my life earlier on, when I was married. My son’s great-grandmother (we called her GG because he couldn’t say great-grandma when he was a little guy) GG had a way of enjoying the smallest of nature’s wonders, the hummingbird. She would fill her hummingbird feeders and watch them come to eat, marveling at their grace and laughing with enjoyment as they dipped and swayed, delicately feed and then dashed away. GG never seemed old to me, even though she was in her early 90’s by the time she passed (or graduated, as she preferred to say) because she enjoyed her life. She laughed often and kept that child-like wonder and enthusiasm for all the beauty and miracles in nature and in Life. When I would come to pick my son up after a visit, they would be playing together, usually with Play-Doh or Lincoln Logs. She wouldn’t sit on the couch and watch him play; she would be right there with him, on the floor or at the table. Both of them would always be laughing and smiling together, in their own little world.

She had the secret to happiness and long life; live it and enjoy it. She has been my best role model for living a good life and staying young, keeping the child within well-nourished, exercised and entertained. Tonight, after a grown-up dinner with lots of veggies, I’m going to break out the colored pencils and do a little coloring, just for fun.

Happy Hump Day!