Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Early Valentine's Day (Even Though This Post Is Late)

Valentine's Day was a bit of a bust around here.
We were on the road,
tired, cranky, heading home.
Emotional time with my mom for me,
head-warping time with the tax accountant for him.
So we had a tough ride home.
Sometimes the steam collects,
and instead of venting it in small quantities,
over time, it comes out like a TNT explosion,
sending shrapnel bouncing around the place.
As painful as that feels when it happens,
the grace in it is this:
we can get back to center in short order.
In earlier years, that part of the process could take days,
sometimes weeks. This time, we were both able to say, "I'm sorry. That was insensitive of me. I know this weekend has been hard for you."
So I spent a little time today, while Lilly was napping (finally!), looking at photos from a truly lovely day earlier this month.
It was a good reminder that in and around the tough stuff,
we manage to make memories that are life-giving and hope-filled.
 I started that day with Silent Saturday,
always a healthy, hopeful thing for me to do.
Three hours of centering prayer and reflection,
sitting, walking, thinking, praying.
We were in a different place this month,
crowded out by a large retreat gathering.
Still oak trees of glory,
still room by the creek.
 It was a good time, though I was more distracted than usual.
Distraction is the name of the game some days.
Later that day, I picked up my husband and we drove to the tiny town just south of us, parking on the bluffs
overlooking Summerland Beach.
The same place where I sat by myself  
The view from up there was just as spectacular.
It was later in the day this time, and quite a bit warmer, so we opted to take a long walk on the beach.
 The walkway down to the sand was lined with bright yellow wildflowers, the angle of the light exactly right.
 If you've followed my blog at all,
you've seen lots of pictures of the bluffs along this stretch of coastline. Rosy gold to rich coral in color, beautifully eroded with striations, even large cave-like openings,
they epitomize central coast natural architecture.
 Single shorebirds showed up at various points along our venture - this curlew, a lone pelican on the water, a cormorant sticking to the rocks even when pummeled by the waves.
The rock formations - above us to the north and sprinkled throughout the water to the south (yes, our beaches face south on this peninsula) - 
are wonder-filled and beautiful.

 As we walked back, the horseman we had seen from the bluffs came galloping by us, heading home;
a teenaged boy carried driftwood back to his friends,
busy constructing something wondrous.
 The sun was not yet down, so we climbed into the car and drove a little further south, heading to a favorite restaurant, recently under new ownership, a place where you can eat outdoors, picnic tables and thatched umbrellas spread across a lovely lawn while the kids play in a nearby designer sandbox.
And we relished those burgers, oh yes, we did,
as the sun slowly sank into the sea.
 And that very night, my husband built the fire that inspired 
Who says Valentine's Day needs to be on the 14th anyhow?

I will join this one with L.L., Laura, Jennifer and Ann. It was a lovely day, a beautiful place and a great memory, too.
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