I decided I wanted to usher in my 45th year watching the sun rise. It is the very first thing that made my list of 45 in 45 so it seemed inspired and fitting. #Sunrise was also the day's prompt for the Instagram challenge I dabble in. Mere coincidence? Or a powerful invitation? I thought I was having one of those divine moments where the universe is talking to me and I am all ears. That is until the weather forecast was, for once, spot on. Mother Nature be damned...I woke to a perfectly cloudy day yesterday. I was awake before dawn, albeit briefly, and I contemplated going to my favorite nearby beach on the shores of Lake Michigan despite the cloudcast. Then I drifted back off begrudgingly and also greedily. I was unhappy about the fate of my best laid plans and also still not sufficiently rested. So I missed the sunrise. That sad fact set the tone for most of the rest of my waking day.
It was not my best despite the many lovely texts, calls, voice mails and even a delivery of the most spectacular bouquet of South American red roses. I was cranky and still sour in mood from the day before, which was one of the lowest of all of my 44th year. It was also a stressful day at work as I was wearing several hats and none of them particularly well with almost two weeks of vacation dangling like a carrot in front of starving moi.
When I got home, I crawled into bed and begged Mother Nature to let the rain fall from the still saturated sky. You see earlier in the day I may have mentioned a swim at our favorite little beach to my favorite little girl. Earlier before my mood went from gloomy to gloomier. Said little lady does not take such promises lightly, and I knew her fury would be worse than Mother Nature's if I even tried to back out.
Jess came bearing wine and a French silk pie. And a bathing suit. Jack, my honorary second son for the week, returned at the end of his day wondering when Teddy would be home from football practice or when we were going swimming. In other words, I'm already bored. Apparently, I got him all excited too. So after a glass of the best rioja, I corked the bottle and said to the beach! I said to the beach! and I meant to the beach! That exclamation point is very important here because when I committed to acting the way I wanted to feel, I felt it. I was suddenly excited and empowered. When I was searching for a safety pin for Jess (wink wink), I found my Mom's O' Shit button lost since St. Pat's Day, and then I knew the universe was still talking to me and I better get on. At that point I may have even been eager.
Apparently, not quite as eager as Lily and Jack who flew down the slick stone stairwell and headed straight for the water that is still feeling palpable effects of last winter's stubborn polar vortex. As I dipped my toes in and thought no way, I remembered a similar night last summer when I think I referred to the sensation of being submerged in the icy water as electric. And it was. So I started to wade in. It took me a little while to get to my waist, but I knew I was going all in because I knew what was in store for me. I put my mind to it and willed my feet to carry me forward as I said my intentions for this new year. It was a inspiring and symbolic moment for me. Almost holy. Like a baptism if you will, and certainly a cleansing. I swam forward into the grey water with my eyes on the grey horizon and prayers in my heart. Water and air were one and I felt such a surge of hope as I took a deep breath and dove under. My tears ended where the water began, and I took a deep breath out of awe as well as sustenance.
I felt so blessed to behold such a beautiful, meaningful place. Beautifully meaningful. I don't really know how to adequately express how grateful and humbled I am to know that even the grey gloaming is full of incredible magic. It is subtle and soft. It is muted and mottled, but it is awe-inspiring in its own right. The eastern sky is just as showy as the western sky in the golden hour, and that realization recharged my staggering spirit.
Jess and I finished our rioja in the lake while Jack, Lily and our old friend Darla the dog splashed around us. Coming to this place on this night was the best gift I could have asked for on my birthday. That and finding McGurk's O'Shit button.
We stayed until twilight reluctant to leave. Then as we ambled up the path on the moonless night, the fireflies lit the way. I was water logged and sandy, and most certainly ready for another year.