It's been a rough week. But it's also been a rich one. Rich in the sense of bountiful, expansive and humbling. Humbling because I thought I was rocking it to my Mom's birthday (21st) and straight through her Heaven day (28th) all I got this like the warrior of a woman I pretend to be. The truth is, I'm less brave champion and more soft schlemiel so I wasn't really surprising myself. I was, however, trying to trick myself. A dose of humble pie and honesty is always cathartic, thus welcome. I know intellectually that sometimes the anniversaries we expect to evoke sadness just don't. Grief is a major opportunist that is forever lurking ready to pounce, but often does so when least expected. That randomness is exactly what makes it so crippling. The truth is I think about my Mom everyday and I'm always missing her. Seven years later...her birthday is just another day she's absent from my life. The sadness I feel about this is to my core and constant so in a way I've just gotten used to it and maybe even accepted it. It's part of my reality...my history. It's also part of my story that I honor and feel and remember the experiences and relationships that make me who I am.
I needed to celebrate my Mom this year. I needed to acknowledge her in a meaningful way. This morning when I woke in the dark before my alarm, I knew what I needed to do. I made my way to the beach for sunrise. I cannot think of a more beautiful reminder of the wonder of it all. Sitting there watching the birth of a new day fills me with swells of hope. I'm buoyed up by the sense that the very best way to check grief is to look for peace, warmth and joy in every new day. To show up, notice and give thanks.
I didn't expect to be alone on such a beautiful 50 degree morning, but I was a little surprised to find myself in the company of so many swimmers. The water cannot be much warmer than the air on this first day of fall. The rhythmic cutting of their arms as they sliced through the water sounded like soft undulating waves and was mesmerizing. The calm of the scene was interrupted by the less predictable calls of the gulls and the hollers of two young men. They were making their way from the beach to an island of rocks for a better view and I envied them the traipse through the numbing water to their front row pew. I don't think they realized the way voices carry over the lake. I listened to their banter at first with annoyance and then acceptance. After all, something brought them to the beach on this morning to bear witness as well. It was probably a dare, but I may have settled on a more sanguine story.
I was on the beach on my bench just in time for the sun to sneak up over the horizon at 6:39. The series of photographs below was taken by 6:44. What I want to tell you is that it only takes 5 minutes for the new day to dawn. It only takes 300 seconds to come back to life. Now that...that is something.