This week opened up with what was surely the most beautiful day of this young year. We were getting this taste of what is in store, a reminder that winter is not forever, that we will certainly experience streaks of one thing but they will yield to some new normal eventually. I find a great deal of beauty in the rainy, foggy Pacific Northwest winter and spring, but I had forgot the stunningness of the summer days here. There is this crispness of the colors. The blues of the sky and ocean are deep and dark and against that deep green in the trees they pop even more. The colors feel realer than me.
The rain returned soon enough, and I woke my rain jacket from its one-day rest on the coat rack. People ask if I am used to the rain or if I’ve tired of it yet. For now, I’d take longer days over drier ones. Most of us know how demoralizing it is to get of work day after day and it already be dark outside. That is already starting to let up. I feel like I’ll soon have enough time to run after work. By the summer solstice, it’ll be close to 10pm before it’s dark.
Thinking about that extra time, it’s easy to chide your former self, wondering what you did with all that while you had it. My easy answer is it was summer camp, and I was up to my ears in work all day. But, thinking about 5 extra hours of daylight, I’m quick to ask myself why I wasn’t able to squeeze in at least a 30 minute run on the beach. We do this for so many phases of our lives. Why didn’t I do more before I had a job? Before I was married? Before I had a kid? When I only had one kid?
We were of course different people with different abilities, different priorities, and different realities. I tell myself, though, this summer the extra daylight will mean more to me. It probably will a little bit. Then, I’ll probably forget some too, until the days start getting noticeably shorter.
I got a tide clock for Christmas. It is a clock that is tuned to the cycles of the moon instead of the sun. It tells you when the tide is high, ebbing, low, or flowing. You are supposed to wait the full moon to start the clock for it to work most accurately, so we just started it last weekend. I love keeping up with the ocean from home, that we figure out this way that this little plastic arms points to “high,” and I can walk out to the ocean and find it close to shore. If I want to run at a low tide, I just wait around until the hand points to “low.”
On one of my beach walks this week, I walked the tree line, which is now about 8 feet above the beach sand. The ocean continues to carve it out, and some of the nearest trees are falling over into the beach to be washed out to sea somewhere. I wove my way through the woods, passing shore pines coated in moss in this way that makes them feel ancient and mysterious. They are actually only several decades old. Fifty or sixty years ago, it was all sea grass where they are standing, and a fair portion was probably under water sometimes. I think about how I wish I could see all of these times at once, how I could be all myselves at once in all these different times. I guess there wouldn’t be much change in that, though, and that is kinda crucial for growth.
On Friday, Allyson and I woke early. It was raining hard and still dark. We were leaving to vacation with Allyson’s parents for about a week in Key West. We would travel from one corner of the country to another. On the way, we laid over in Chicago, one of my favorite places. The plane went right past the beautiful skyline, with the Willis Center, Aon Center, The John Hancock building where we got engaged. Then it flew straight out over the green waters of Lake Michigan before turned back towards an O’Hare runway. I hadn’t been to Chicago in nearly two years, and even this sort of distanced approach felt like a visit to an old friend.
Our flight finished in Fort Lauderdale right around midnight East Coast time. At the beginning of our day, we had left our Pacific Ocean and finished it up looking at the night reflected in the Atlantic. We woke to a bright sky our Pacific Northwest trained eyes were not used to and a warmness in the air. Palm trees towered everywhere. We passed the Everglades and made our way through the keys on Florida Highway 1. Soon, we saw that beautiful Caribbean water, about 15 different shades of bright blue, sunlight touching everything.
This next week will feel very different, we are in a different climate on a different end of the continent. Isn’t it strange that we live in an age where we can wake in one world and end the day in another? What must our bodies think about these changes in climate? I hope my body welcomes it. I intend to put it through many more. I hope during this week in this new world we are able to settle into some sort of normal and leave feeling like we have gotten to know it a little bit. I’m sure there is much here that will seem ancient and mysterious. To get anything out of exploring that’s good for the soul, you must practice a sense of awe. I try to remind myself to do that with the daylight I’ve been allotted, whether it happens to be coming in large or small quantities. As we passed that thin strip of cement between wide swaths of blue water, I felt assured that sense of awe wouldn’t be tough to practice this next week.