Sunset at Long Beach, WA.
I witnessed the most amazing sunset Saturday evening. It had been raining hard all day. It was dark and dreary and depressing. So when I looked outside and saw this view I had to go outside and experience the splendor. It was raining though. A light sprinkling as I watched the sun make its glorious appearance between the clouds and the horizon.
I love sunsets. You might know this by now if you have read this blog for any length of time. You might have heard this before. I will say it again. I love them. And I love them especially when they are at the beach. It is a religious experience to watch the sunset at the ocean.
An interesting thought occurred to me recently. Not very many people get to see the sun setting at the ocean. I get to because I live near the Pacific Ocean. How many other oceans face West? Obviously there are a few. But it suddenly occurs to me that this wonderful experience can only be experienced in certain places, the Pacific Ocean being one of those places. I am very grateful that I get to experience it.
When we went to Santa Cruz last weekend I really wanted to watch the sun set at our old beach, Seabright. We kept ourselves busy until that magic hour and then we drove down to our favorite beach. As we drove I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. I had forgotten that Santa Cruz is an anomaly. It is situated on the north end of the Monterrey Bay and so when you look toward the water you are looking south, not west. And sometimes, because of the way the coastline is, when you are looking at the water you look East. It is very odd and will completely confuse your senses when you are there. So I missed the sunset that evening and I was sad.
Santa Cruz had some pretty killer sunrises though. I used to run on the beach every morning and I was lucky to be able to see the sun rise over the ocean. Which is just as amazing as watching the sun set. Maybe even more so because there are fewer people around so you share it with a small group of crazy people like you who get up at an ungodly hour.
Tell me about a time you were in trouble in class.
There was a time when I was in elementary school. I think it was 2nd grade? I had a crotchety old teacher. The class was super quiet because the whole class was in trouble. We were supposed to, collectively, all be quiet. All of a sudden Ms. Crotchety looked up from what she was doing and said, “who’s whistling?!?” and to my dismay I realized that I, indeed, was the one whistling. I didn’t even realize I did it. I stopped instantly and I didn’t reveal myself because I didn’t want to get in trouble. But I was so embarrassed. I had no idea I was even doing it.
Isn’t it funny, the memories you retain? I wonder why that memory, of all of the things I could remember, sticks. I often wonder why I have no memories of visiting Portland and Mt Hood when I was a kid. I think I must have loved it because I ended up living here. Living here has not triggered any memories of the fun I had here. I vaguely remember being in Portland. I remember one time when we went out for burgers with my cousin in Portland and we sat in a parking lot to eat them. I believe they were Arctic Circle burgers. I remember being in sight of one of the bridges. Was it the Steel Bridge? I don’t know. It might have been. It is a fuzzy memory.
We used to stay with friends of ours. My memories of them are very patchy. I don’t know where in Portland they lived. It was a beautiful old house though. A big house that had an old laundry chute. There was a day when I went out by myself to a 7 Eleven on the corner and I was walking around the store and the store owner looked at me warily and said, “why aren’t you in school?” Again, I was really embarrassed and I felt really bad, like I was in trouble, even though I did nothing wrong. I was on my spring vacation and I had every right to be there. Again, why am I remembering this particular thing? I even remember the look on the clerk’s face.
We used to go up to a cabin on Mt. Hood in Rhododendron, which is where I live now. I am all over this area and you’d think that it would trigger a memory of the cabin but it doesn’t. I don’t remember that cabin at all. There is a vague shadowy memory but that’s it. I don’t remember visiting Timberline Lodge at all. There is a photo of me sliding down Palmer Glacier. I don’t remember sliding down Palmer Glacier. I don’t remember visiting Timberline Lodge. And I love Timberline Lodge! How is this lack of memory possible? And what does it mean? Why do I choose to remember one memory over the other? Why do I remember a crotchety old teacher and a cranky shop keeper and not fun, happy memories?
Raf and I had a fun adventure this past weekend. We visited The Grotto. I am not sure how to begin describing this place. It is very Catholic. Full of very stern, and sometimes disturbing, statues of Saints and angels. You could even buy a statue, if you are so inclined. Did you know that you can BUY holy water? I had no idea (Incidentally, when I Instagrammed this photo of the holy water my upload FAILED three times before I was successful. The Lord didn’t like me making fun of the gift shop selling His holy water.)
The highlight of the visit was the labyrinth. I’d always wanted to walk one and it proved to be as meditative as I’d always heard.
Actually, the whole place was beautiful. And, indeed, very meditative. I lost myself on the winding path that lead through the gardens and found it very relaxing. As I wandered through I felt a very calm, peaceful presence. Was it the Holy Spirit? Maybe it was.
I was reminded, again, of my connection to Catholicism. I was raised Catholic and though I don’t call myself Catholic anymore I do still feel a connection to it. Being around the symbolism makes me feel a little bit at home. I was reminded of the similarities between the ritual in Zen Buddhism and the ritual of Catholicism. A few weeks ago I visited Portland’s Japanese Gardens, which is rife with Zen symbolism. In fact, the two places were so similar that it reminds me that we are all striving for the same thing, essentially. We are all rowing the same boat.
This past week I have been thinking a lot about Buddhism’s first noble truth: Life is suffering. Could Christians and Catholics realize this truth through the death of Christ on the cross? I wonder.
I think I have decided that my “resolution” is to not commit to an everyday “challenge.” I have been involved in these types of things for several years and they have served me well in the past. Now I want to focus on those few things that I know are important to me. I am tired of imposing rules on myself. I want to enjoy the things I enjoy.
January 6, 2013
I didn’t post anything yesterday on purpose. I wanted to see what it would feel like to not do something that I have been doing everyday for the past year. It actually felt pretty good. It was nice not having it hanging over my head.
That said, I am back again today because I wanted to post my annual New Years post in which I look forward to the coming year (AKA give myself a list of things I expect to accomplish but never quite get to).
So how did I measure up? I did well with the photography. I had a blast exploring new territory. Writing? Not so much. I think I realized that, perhaps, I am not a writer. Or maybe I’m not a writer right now. And this is fine.
So in the coming year I am going to continue to focus my creative energy on photography. If you are reading this on my blog (as opposed to a feed reader) you will notice that I have a shiny new theme. I have been working on populating the portfolio section of the blog, so do check it out! I will add more stuff as my skills progress.
In the meantime, I will continue to post here but not everyday. It will be on a regular basis though. I can’t forsake my beloved blog. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but my blog will be ten years old this month. I have something special planned for my blogiversary, so keep your eyes peeled.
Oh, and there is this Awesome List. Perhaps I can get some of these things checked off this year…