“And now we’re supposed to go back to our normal lives. That’s what people do. They have these amazing experiences with another person, and then they just go home and clean the bathroom or whatever.” — Susane Colasanti, When It Happens
I have been home for two weeks now. Back to normal life and cleaning the bathroom. But something has shifted — my skin feels different. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you let go, open your heart to a new experience, see the world with clear eyes…breathe.
It was all in a day’s walk, really. The familiar sights and cadence of our feet along the sand. Morning. Evening. By the pool, along the boardwalk, past the turtles, into the powder-like sand – feet bare all day, every day. Cool Gulf tides, a carpet of seaweed, and the company of shore birds. A perfect formation of pelicans or sandcastle or clouds. Shadows, shapes and shells. Sunrise to sunset.
We are blessed this trip with signs. Brief messages from the Universe that point the way, remind us to stop, explain the terrain, and give us directions we might not have asked for had we not slowed down.
There are other signs, too. Ones that make us tell stories, laugh, and collect the ingredients for a great adventure.
Each morning, Pool Buddha arrives for his daily meditation. Each day, we discover a message to take from his presence and his mindful work. This morning it is raining. In his absence, we understand “there is a time to work, and a time to not.”
We bow our heads and hope we can bring this morsel home to feast on when the day-to-day leaves us hungry and tired.
In meditation, you focus your attention. It is “to pay attention,” no matter its school or form. In birding, there is like action. A thoughtful observance of what sits right in front of you. Each moment calling out for attention and keen awareness: crested caracara, laughing gull, least tern, ruddy turnstone, sanderling, willet, brown pelican, American coot, tricolor heron, great blue heron, royal tern, roseate spoonbill, ruddy duck, great egret, cormorant, black-bellied plover, white ibis, herring gull, forster’s tern, western sandpiper, clapper rail, black skimmer.
If I told you how much magic appeared, how generous the Universe was to us on this trip, I suspect you might have doubt. The rational might scoff and use a word like coincidence, but I’ll tell you anyhow. At our feet every day were angel wings and feathers, each carrying their own messages about life unfolding before us. There were heart shape rocks, a tidal wave of shells, a dolphin sighting, butterflies saved from the surf, a repeated happenstance of words and themes, and a double rainbow. We walked down the beach with a Great Blue Heron, spotted a pair of rare crested caracaras in the dunes. And just when we thought we’d had our share, a feather would appear as if from thin air.
We have not come for attractions or events. There is no itinerary or list of things to do. Neither of us has searched websites, bought travel guides, or read brochures. What we seek cannot be bought, read or planned. It must simply be allowed. Rest.
By week’s end we will enjoy 8 hours of sleep each night, afternoon naps each day, 11 books read between the two of us, two daily walks down the beach, and conversation that spills into all the hours in between.
With a long expanse of days ahead and no agenda, we get an early start. Car packed, provisions from the farmer’s market, coffee at the ready — it’s time for a 300-mile drive south to the coast. The view is familiar, this front row seat of highway — how many times have we traveled like this together? Across miles of Connecticut coast, the back roads of France, through Texas desert and now its countryside.
The view from the patio — with which we will become quite intimate — speaks volumes. Looks like the start of something good.
I am pushing time today. First bearing its patience while I finish packing, check lights and locks, search for keys. Search for time lost. Slow it down so I get where I need to be by 6. Speed it up, so I get where I want to be by 11: Austin. 60 miles to the airport. 1,800 miles to Texas.
But, the hours are gracious today. I see bluebonnets along the runway and know it is time. Vacation.