Notes from The Coast
This week has blessed me with a new moon (old moon? Waxing? Waning?) just a sliver of a thing, and an open sky at Land’s End and a tiny chapel almost hidden in the woods. Although I will always love the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico something I have truly enjoyed has been a beach where the ocean front isn’t blocked by condo after condo after condo. I remember when they were being built along the Gulf in Panama City and my mother was seemingly heartbroken that the view of the Gulf along with the sand dunes was disappearing. We used to be able to drive from Long Beach to West Bay with the view of the waves clearly in sight. So, yes, this makes me ancient with a long memory like one of those old trees in Tolkien. My mother was a true believer in democracy and capitalism but she always wished that there had been a law of preservation enacted that would have made the side of the beach by the waves public land with appropriate boardwalks to protect the dunes. She wanted the entire coast of Florida to look like beautiful St. Andrews State Park. It would have made the land across the street worth twice as much. I beg to differ in only one way – at this point it would have made it worth more than I can think. Imagine – the entire coast of Florida along the Gulf all the way down to the keys sugar white sands and vistas to live for. Such is life and progress and what not. And, yes, I have rented those beautiful condo’s for family vacations and would do so again so I am not anti-condo. Just wishful in a retrospect way like my Mom. So, I do take pleasure in driving along the coast and seeing the water over or in between houses and certainly appreciate the long stretches of dedicated park space.
A wonderful alignment of planets joined that sliver of a moon in what seemed to be some sort of Age of Aquarius happening - think of the 70’s song by, The 5th Dimension. I’ve looked up at the stars all of my life. Captivated. Intrigued. Expecting – something. As a little girl from my backyard swing-set after dark. My mother’s convertible with the top down at night (thank you Mom for that) coming home on weekends from my Grandparents. From the beach as a teenager hanging out and having the only kind of fun you can have just because you are young and it is the beach. Because of this I have seen more shooting stars and galaxy dust than most of my friends. This week when Saturn was hanging over Venus hanging over that moon I took time to put my feet up on the porch railing and just enjoy the magic being alive sometimes tosses my way.
For Ash Wednesday being an Episcopal girl, I went forth to service. I’ve often told people that Lent is just one of my fav seasons because it brings us into a place of self-reflection in a bit of a different way. It’s a good time of year to drop our personal BS and \spend a little more time thinking about the way we ‘love our neighbor’ – or to be honest about the fact that we don’t love our neighbor. Hell, we don’t even like ‘em and if we think about it real hard we might detest them a little bit. Just good stuff to be really honest about with no one but ourselves and God and then take it from there. So, dropped practically right here in my back yard in 1939 in preparation for my moving here is a tiny Episcopal church that reminds me so much of St. Thomas by the Sea in Laguna Beach where I grew up. The church of my growing up and getting baptized and confirmed and married and where we held Mom’s Memorial Service last year. I’ve always loved tiny chapels and small churches and this one is half the size of St. Thomas so it’s hard not to feel at home. What I don’t have is a picture of the beautiful stained glass that hangs beyond the altar. At the bottom is inscribed, “In Memory of Rebecca”, a child who lived all of one week. And the very short homily last night was about how that child that lived only one week was treasured, loved, and remembered. And then looking at our lives from that perspective. Of all the years that we have lived and loved and been loved. And, to be thankful. For which I am exceedingly so.