Friday, August 20, 2010
August Twilight at Point Defiance
Every day of our lives includes twilight, an event that occurs 365 times each year and is often ignored. Then after it happens, we realize the light is gone. Every 24 hours twilight arrives, brief and silent, but with a message as clear as the cry of a gull. Are you listening? It reminds us of this request of life, one you've heard so much that it too is ignored: "Be present in the moment."
Last Monday evening, with a profound awareness of that message, I walked along the beach at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park with three other people. We witnessed a melding of sea and sky, day and night, like I'd never seen before. The tide on that occasion was high against the bulkhead, so high it seemed we could reach out and touch the water of Puget Sound as it spread like rippled satin in shades of apricot, lavender, plum, and indigo, still touched by the distant luminosity of a sunset just missed. Our friend, so affected by the scene, almost whispered, "How do you even begin to describe this?" I've tried here, but he and the others could tell you I've failed. My best efforts can't equal the experience of "presence."
Around sunset last evening I once again craved the beach. I went down to Point Defiance with my camera, hoping to find that scene again. What I found had its own beauty, a sense of peace and tranquility and the essence of the maritime Northwest. But I can't give you what I witnessed on Monday night. Those moments are gone, except in memory, and even the best memories are less than what "now" has to offer. If I had known that fact in the past, I would have wrapped my arms around all those other pieces of what was then the present and cherished them more deeply.
The present, like the look in a person's eyes, the taste of food, a whiff of the sea, a musical harmony, a gentle touch, and especially the company of beloved souls, must be savored with gratitude during that very second. What have you missed already, that will never come again? Have you ever tried to hang on to the sound of a loved one's voice after they are gone? Did you ever wish for just a few more seconds during an embrace, or a snippet of time from a long ago childhood? These things all slip away.
August enters it's last phase and we notice the days getting shorter. Tonight, when twilight returns, as brief and silent as always, just be still and think about what it symbolizes. These moments are your life and tomorrow's memories. Don't forget to pay attention.
Copyright 2010 Candace J. Brown