June 1, 2010

Waiting for the next swell

I've been having a tough time the last few weeks. The 90 days has run its course, and thoughts of divorce, children, etc. have been filling my mind. The thoughts will always be there, and the severity will rise and fall, but I have been lingering in a trough this month.

We went to church on Sunday, and things started pushing to the surface again. The theme of class was forgiveness, and there was a dedication ceremony, but I don't know that there was any one thing that tripped the switch. Just an overall feeling of family pervaded the day, and it made me linger on what could have been. I had trouble keeping it together and made a hasty exit after the service was over.

I went for a run afterwards. My last long run before marathon weekend (that might yet happen). I ran up near Sunset Cliffs again. It is a little hillier route, but I was only going 10 miles and I wanted to be near the ocean. The 1.25 mile stretch is breathtaking, and I run up there as often as I can. Every time I run this route, there are other runners, surfers and tourists drinking in the scenery.

And almost always, there are people just staring at the ocean. Some pull up a lawn chair, but others just sit on the guardrail and stare west. I am reminded of the movie "Running Scared" with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. Two New York cops take a week down on some Caribbean isle to escape from the job. They come upon a large group of people staring off at the ocean. Being cops, they assume there is trouble and they ask, "what is going on, is something wrong?" A woman answers "No, we are just watching the sunset. We do this every day." Their initial reaction is "Seriously?", but after spending a week near the beach they understand it, and begin plotting how to move down there permanently.

Each time I run along Sunset Cliffs I think, "I should come back and watch the sun go down." Sunday was finally someday. I thought the tonic of the sea would help, and I could just let loose of all the feelings I was keeping inside. I pulled up a chair about a half hour before sunset, a cup of coffee and book in hand. There were a bunch of people along the cliff and out on the rocks to take in the nightly show. I watched the people and the waves as the sun slowly sank toward the horizon.

I wasn't expecting answers. I just wanted a moment to let loose my pain and have it wash away into something bigger. But the dam containing my feelings from the morning did not burst, or really even crack. It was one of those rare moments when I was totally present and my mind was quiet. I still didn't find any answers, but the ocean and the sunset was just the tonic I needed.

Like that lone surfer Sunday evening, I'm waiting in a trough for the next big wave to carry me forward. In the meantime, I will try to stay in the moment and enjoy the brilliant scenery. And of course when that wave comes, I need to paddle really hard.


tami said...

Beautiful! I love Sunset Cliffs, my brother used to live a few blocks from there.
Don't forget to forgive yourself, as well. :-)
Please pencil in a trip 'round Greenlake when you come home with coffee afterwards!

Me said...


Holly Linden said...

"What is it about the water?"....

matt said...

Excellent post.