The beginning

The wind deftly gathered her hair, swept it over her face. She closed her eyes, and listened to the boom of the waves as they came and went, over and over, endlessly. She could feel the clouds gathering above her, and she wondered whether she should move or not. As the light, cool rain fell on her hands and knees, she didn’t care enough to leave, so she hugged her legs to her chest and rested her head on them.

It was a bluff overlooking the ocean. The edge curved out over rocks and churning water some three hundred feet below, and one might have judged it an unsafe place to gather thoughts. Although she never gathered them there. She let them settle. Her musings, like so many small forest animals, were wont to wander without schedule or structure. The pounding of the water and the salt in the air let them rest. And as the noises faded, the quieter things would slowly begin to surface. Her heart would relax enough to reveal its answers, like a loosened grip that holds a starry gem.

Growing up, she and boy, a neighbor, would come with her to this place. Every summer when she would visit for her Grandma’s Birthday, they would slip away from the lemonade and the excitable dogs driven to madness by the seagulls that taunted them, all her raucous cousins, and would run to their secret place. Up a steep, rocky path they’d climb, grasping tree limbs and roots with both hands. When they had initially discovered it, it was partially hidden by a crop of thorny bushes and seemed long forgotten. But they spied faint traces of packed dirt that might have once been a trail, and so they had pushed through the protective foliage.

Their hearts raced at the vantage point, that first time. They had smiled at each other, both in silent agreement that this was something they would never share.

And she never did.

15 years later, her cares were a bit heavier than finding unbroken sand dollars and scraped knees. A new pain throbbed through her veins, overwhelming her heart as it strained to keep her alive. Her spirit was failing her, and it was time to say goodbye.

Her fingers pulled through the grasses at her sides, breaking the thin blades away from the earth and offering them to the wind, feeling as if she was offering the world all her years at the same time. It took them both, replacing the green, vernal life with air. Her hair and her sweatshirt were becoming soaked with the rain that steadily peppered her from the dark sky. She hadn’t been to this spot for a long time, but already she felt it working out the knot in her chest. The sea acted as a magnet; it’s own strife and movement drawing the anxiety out of her mind and into itself, leaving her empty. Lightening cracked, rain ran down her hair and cheeks, across her closed lids.

Without warning she remembered gray eyes and black hair, the tug of his hand on her wrist. She could hear his infectious laugh at her fearlessness, which was little more than innocence at that time. Sitting on small, white flowers that matted the nooks and crannies of the hard boulders.

She didn’t know what had called so far back to the beginning, to this place, as she  found herself at the end. she could remember the thrill of excitement when they first saw each other, and escaped to the beach before saying a word. Talking had never been a priority anyway; words had rarely been necessary. Their silence was their bond. The memories came so clear and sharp it seemed like yesterday, and she marveled at finding them so wholly untouched by the imperfections that plagued humanity.

She sighed. It grew still, then, as if she had moved into the space between moments, the part of the world that evaded time. Her flesh felt a weight being lifted, and light filled her mind, blinding her visions of the past and warming her through to the bone.

She stood. Reaching into her pocket, she brought forth a piece of something that shone a deep gold, a ring, a piece of her heart. With great carefulness she knelt and swept dirt away to make a shallow hole, and placed the weight inside, burying it. And she let him go.

Going Back

So I’ve moved away from Seattle.

I’m okay with this for a number of reasons. I’ve sat through my fair share of traffic. I had a moment in the car this summer, parked on the freeway, where I looked around at all the commuters with indifferent expressions and thought, Oh my word. I don’t think I consider this a massive waste of time anymore. I’m actually, truly, one of those people who considers it completely natural to wile away my life in my vehicle, and I’m not even depressed about it…

It was a poignant moment, my friends.

I burned through two whole cars this summer. As I watched the tow truck wheel away car #2 to the junkyard, again I had thoughts, and they went something like, screw this. I’m buying a bike. 

It was painful leaving the life I had cultivated for the past two years. I had good friends, a solid church family. I just miss Washington in general, too. I’ll miss driving over Lake Union every evening on my way home, and I’ll miss my breath catching at the sight of the Olympics and Cascades, Mount Rainier. I’ll miss the lights of Seattle made brilliant by cloudless, black nights. So many things clutter my heart in regard to that place, and I think that’s why I left. It was growing too comfortable. Too dear. I had to start running again.

So I moved back home. It’s been good. It’s quieter here. There’s no bustle and fuss of the city overpowering your senses, making you lose track of what’s important. I had forgotten that I come from a big family, and that I unconsciously crave human interaction, even if it’s simply knowing that someone else is at home, and that I’m not alone.

My sister and brother in law invited me along on their weekend getaway. They run their own business selling their wares. Kevin is an excellent engraver, and also designs beautiful Celtic knot-work designs. You can check out some of his stuff HERE. Staying true to his Scottish heritage, they travel around the Northwest setting up their booth at Highland Games. It’s been awesome camping out with them in their giant box truck, feasting on cold chicken and potato chips, serenaded all day by bagpipes and the sweet, constant whine of  Kevin’s dremel. This weekend we traveled to Yachats, OR, for a Celtic music festival. My neighbor was a guy named Shane who was selling, and demonstrating, didgeridoos. Celtic? Probably not. Interesting? Heck yes.

Our first morning we picked up some coffee and sat on a bench overlooking the ocean. As I stared out onto the familiar waters of the Pacific, I emotionally exhaled. It wasn’t so much that I was carrying such a heavy burden…no. I have a good life. The yolk I carry is light. But in the midst of moving, of contemplating the purpose of my life, hearing the sound of the waves crashing against themselves and the unforgiving rocks was like someone familiar slipping their fingers though mine and holding my hand. It was just nice.

It was so good, and I thank my Father for it.

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Day 12

He met her gaze and saw the fury churning in her gray eyes, unwavering as the sea, gloomy. He could not bear it and turned away. His love, his desire, could not be tempered by her anger. As she realized this, something within her lost all hope. She felt her life slip out of her grasp, and inwardly she died. Her cheeks still held their color, her body kept it’s strength, yet her spirit fell cold.

She had not thought it would be this way. A new way of life was so tempting, a life filled with different textures and sensations, different emotions. She had also known what would happen if she chose to reveal herself, had known what was to happen and be since she first laid eyes on him.

She looked out onto what she had sacrificed; the sea was rife and troubled, the spray reaching to the sky as the waves crashed against each other. But she knew what lay beneath.  She knew that sound of peace that rested just below the surface, the calm and silance that permeated the soul.

A pang of physical hurt shot through her heart for a moment, half a moment, before it turned to stone.

She turned to him, and he saw her mouth set and the color of her eyes grow dim.  Her tone was dispassionate as she spoke to him for the first time, “Come, my husband, and take us to your dwelling.” For a brief moment he considered giving back what he took, but then he realized how the darkness of her eyes matched the splendor of the midnight blue sky, how her irises glimmered faintly like stars, and he was lost forever. He slowly folded the seal skin and tucked it under his arm. With his free hand he carefully took her by the elbow and guided her out of the rocks. She followed without resistance. She looked over her shoulder on last time, and she allowed herself a trace of wistful sadness for her children when the time came for her to leave them.

For a time when she could no longer bear the call of the sea, and came home.