The sun warms my face and bones. It’s summer, late January. Cloudless. With this exciting cornucopia of impromptu events taking place right outside my balcony. Including the heartbreaking cries of a baby downstairs.
This has thus far been such a quiet apartment complex, except for the chronic barking seals. Which I love. Which I crave. Along with the bird squawks. And the purring boats and the occasional conversation of the outboard riggers. This has been a place of absolute, restorative peace. But today, as I mentioned, a baby cries, a grandchild no doubt, amidst adult conversations and the occasional barking caged dog.
Once in a while, I see a human climbing up or down the stairs in this blemished 1960s dwelling. My eyebrows raise with little kid excitement; I crave greetings, interaction, a wondering conversation about what brought them to this temporary seaside shelter, several of the guests, hooked on the standstill of time, have lived here from years from what I’m told.
A basking seal reminds me that time is merely a human invention. To the instructive creatures who inhabit our fragile planet, time is irrelevant. What matters to them is the here and now. Resting. Dreaming. Until it’s time to eat or swim or hang out with friends or stay clear of boaters.
My idol is the harbor seal. And the cormorants. And all the flying, diving acrobats of the sea. I want to be them, gliding in the sunset with no notion of tomorrow.
I am at peace.
Even the Facetimes.
Even the emails and texts.
Even the yacht-toasting Yugoslavian-boating passerby’s, can’t shatter my thermal coat of gratitude. To be in this place so close to “home”, is like climbing into a warm cabin right before a winter’s frost.
To return, not in triumph, but in humility and thankfulness for the life this place gifted me, for the memories, the challenges, the hope and despair; the friendships and the heartbreak, the beginnings and the end; it all happened here in this home that is no longer my home. A new beginning. A fresh start where I can clear the slate and re-write a brand new history.
I no longer need to look back.
I don’t need to say, “I’m sorry.”
“Good morning, how are you?” shall be my new phrase going forward.
“I’m brilliant,” I will respond in return.
Because that’s how I feel inside. Smiling. Hopeful. Excited about the road ahead. What will I discover? What new things will I learn? Listening to my body. Paying attention to my soul. Peace like not a river, but like the mouth of this marina which I study like a student of impressionistic paintings. I’m a docent, an advocate, an admirer who wishes to climb into the mind of the creator to inquire about process, choice of color, blocking, particular paint strokes and if the end produced expressed what she needed to express, in other words, was she satisfied?
The day isn’t long enough. I will wake up earlier and stay awake longer. I’m on vacation without an alarm clock.
I don’t want to miss a moment not delighting in Monet with her ears perked up like tents on fire season alert as she eyes the stealth seal gently climb down the scratchy rocks; not the assortment of birds flying South; not the silhouette of fisherman ably rambling across the breakwater, nor the gurgling of the rescue boat idling at sunset or the incoming storm clouds or the fragrant smell of rosemary billowing down the hallway. I don’t want to miss a second more worrying about the baby, who eventually stopped crying, or my grandchildren babies who are all doing just fine, or possible real estate investments, or what new van to buy or not, or my dear ex-husband’s ill health and housing plight, or Ukraine or Trump and Biden’s classified document blunders, or the people who don’t “get” or like me, or the missteps I have made along the way that brought me to this place, this moment of glorious gratitude.
The sun sets, a door closes.
No more regrets.
I pledge to embrace the ever-present extended hand.
Moving out, it seems, can mean moving on.