28 June 2009


Well, okay, not actual whiplash. But figuratively, yes. You try going from the peaceful contemplation of taking the bread & water at church to an afternoon & evening with five, count 'em, five energetic 11 year olds of both genders hanging out at the house today and through the evening. Kids and friends. Boundless energy. Lots of noise. Lots of fun. It's an interesting age. They are capable of flashes of remarkable insight yet will bicker and squabble like two year olds over individual bites of vegetables at dinner, surreptitiously slipping this carrot or that broccoli floret onto somebody else's plate so they wouldn't have to eat it and could still qualify for dessert. It was like five pre-schooler auctioneers all going at once, and I had to nip several food fights in the bud. Sometimes they come perilously close to annoying, but I try to remember that this time is precious, next week (or so it'll seem to me) they will be years older, and fun times like this will be just a precious memory. So I savor it while I can.

Fortunately things have calmed down now as I sit by the open window and write this. The sun has set behind the hills just a mile to the west, the beach just on their other side. A gossamer veil of coastal fog is diffusing the setting sun's light into a golden pink mist that wraps the hills and turns their trees from dark green to pale green grey silhouettes against the pale glow of the sky, which fades from soft gold to pink to purple to pale blue higher up. A cool ocean breeze wafts through the window. The neighborhood is calm and quiet. Just as a summer Sunday evening should be.

I went to the beach the other day for an evening run, but the tide had other ideas. It was way high, so high in fact that the water regularly splashed against the cliffs. No way to run through that. But I did enjoy a walk through the water, refreshing and rejuvenating. When you grow up on the beach, you're like a salmon. There is always something irresistibly pulling you back there, something primal, even spiritual somehow. I've never been able to explain it, but I know countless people who say exactly the same thing. Some of my high school mates live in the Midwest and back east now, and they all say it too: OMG we miss the beach, it tugs at our heart all the time.

Makes me think of Wordsworth's lines from Ode on Intimations of Immortality: "Hence in a season of calm weather Though inland far we be, Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither, Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore." Somehow I've been lucky enough to be able to stay so I don't have to rely on memory. It's right there all the time.

I had the foresight to bring the camera along that evening, so you can see what I saw and hear what I heard on the iPod, the matchless finale of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony. On days like this I lose count of my blessings.


Ned said...

Congrats on keeping the kids in perspective and on your keen observation and writing skills. You're not too bad with multimedia either, although the mighty Pacific Ocean and the great Rachmaninoff give you a lot of work with. :D

Beck said...

"On days like this I lose count of my blessings."

I love this. Very sweet!

Evan said...

I don't need temptations to take a job in sunny California! I'm so jealous of you sometimes. ;)