Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chasing a sunset

A sheen of gray fog coats the sky today. The orange and yellow leaves drooping off the tree limbs, about to take their descent to the damp and cold floor below. It's as if they are suffering a hangover from the way the sun shone down upon them yesterday and the way they gleaned in the light, their colors radiating in a lush fall day that Charlie Brown comic strips were made of.

It started as a lot of mornings have lately. I woke up dejected. Once again unsure of what the day had in store for me but upset that I had failed to get out of town the day prior. I had to meet with some classmates on a group project, so I was stuck in town. The drive to Ashland though told me today would be different. The colors too vibrant and sprinkled and even my perpetual melancholy was not strong enough to withstand the force of it.
When I made the walk through campus and felt the air hit my lungs I started to get that drive I have been missing. As if my engine has been running in second gear and I finally shifted into third. The group was waiting in the library and I knew that the project is going to fall into my lap. My two group mates are Japanese exchange students and my other group partner has been a group no-show. I sat with my two project mates realizing that if I don't lead then we are going to be cast into driftlessness. My next two days, today included, will be researching business forecasts and projections. I'll be building a model for a successful business and running cost analysis. If there could be a drearier way to spend a weekend, I could not imagine it. After leaving our meeting with renewed and well-acted vigor I decided upon a car ride. Sure, I would have to get cracking on this fun business project but today the sun would not let me.

My first destination turned out to be the animal shelter. It was on the way from Ashland and when I saw no cars of volunteers and the sun's glow too enticing I pulled in. There was no reason that a shelter dog shouldn't be able to enjoy in a day like today, it was made for football and dogs playing catch. An hour and four dogs out of the kennels later I left the scene. I get more walking the dogs then they do. Seeing their joy in playing ball or rolling around on the grass instills it in me. Simplicity. Enjoy the simple things. Don't focus on what isn't, focus on how happy you are about what is. Sure, it is difficult seeing the sad dogs and the dogs that have been there too long, but if my fifteen minutes of attention to them in the yard keeps them from going cage crazy for another few days then I feel like I've done a good deed. Someone will come along and do the real work of rescuing and adopting them.

Seeing that unencumbered joy that those dogs felt from being in their cage made me realize I had to get out of my own. I had to see the sun set on the ocean. I hadn't been to the coast in months. There is something about the ocean that awakens me and settles me. I think I've put many symbolic images in my head from my visits to the beach and the ocean. I can remember growing up as a child and visiting the California coast. My family would take trips to Morro Bay and Pismo Beach. The house we rented in Morro Bay was a tiny little yellow house with no television. I read old Archie comic books from the 50's and 60's that were in the children's bedroom. We went deep sea fishing and would float in the fog soup into what felt like the middle of the ocean on a small fishing vessel catching bug-eyed red snappers and halibut.

Years later there would be the Oregon coast and the rocky shores and green soaring redwoods. I thought the central California coast was pretty but it has absolutely nothing on the beauty of the Oregon coastline. On a bright sunny day the water looks like diamonds. The views so beautiful that you wish it would never end. You can take the photographs and even the smiles of those in them, but time does diminish the feelings. When you revisit those places it has both a calming effect and a hollowing one. The moment is there, the beauty, the balance, but life changes us and the ocean stays the same.

I chased a sunset yesterday. I drove for two plus hours in my car in a pursuit of a feeling. My journey was my destination. When I got there the sun has sunk below the sea. Yet what remained was just as breathtaking. The sky was a colorful painting of the bottom half of a rainbow. It was traces of a gorgeous sunset that might have been but wasn't seen. It was memories. The waves crashed and the sky grew darker. The traces of yellow light fading further and further away. Washed away by the ocean of the night.

1 comment:

  1. I still think you need to add inspiring and thought-provoking as reaction choices