I did say, a number of posts ago, that I’d share some more shots here from my summer gallivants, eventually. How ’bout now? The unchanging sunny heat in the tag-end doldrums of summer break in north Texas are almost inevitably a time when my heart turns toward the shoreline beauties of any coastal places I’ve lived or visited. It’s no different now, unless you count that I’ve been gradually going through and editing more of the vast collection of photos I took on our various trips, including many shots of said seaside spots. So, without further ado, some views of this summer’s watery shiny-object admiration.
That magical time known as the Golden Hour seems to give everything, not just color, an extra fillip of beauty. Colors do, indeed, become warmer and more saturated when the sun is at such a low angle to the horizon as its place near dawn and dusk, but there is so much more to the mystical powers of those fleeting moments that it is a great treasure to be still in them and let the wonder fill me. At such times I feel more connected to nature and everything around me seems more in tune, better adjusted, and I feel that I am, too.
How can the mere angle of the sun turn a scrubby lawn into finely cut velvet? The touch of gilt on the scene makes every ounce of it seem that much more precious and valuable. The bejeweled day, in turn, makes the simplest action in it take on significance it never had before: the chattering of birds in the trees becomes a miniature angelic choir; the dipping of oars in the water turns from a quiet splashing to the whispering of poetry; the evening breeze that gently stirs shore grass becomes a delicate communiqué from the harmonic internal logic of the universe, and I am at one with it all. As the golden hour ripples through my environs and begins to permeate me, I almost feel as if I am gliding along their silky way right in sync with the rowboats nearby, waving fluidly as the grasses on the verge, tipping my wings with the evening birds to slide onto the branches of the trees. I am at peace with the world, and the world, with me. That is golden indeed.
For a person who considers herself happily immature relative to her age, I am sometimes caught off guard when I realize how little of my youthful pleasures I’ve continued to pursue with appropriate enthusiasm into the present. Why on earth would I forego standing on a big plank swing, grasping the chains that hold it and me up, and pumping my legs until I feel like I could fly right on over the top steel bar of the swing set with the greatest of ease? Why not kick off my shoes and socks, abandon them in the dirt, and plunge into the cold river’s slippery, rock-strewn flow without regard for getting the legs of my pants all soaking wet? Is there any law that says a 52-year-old is no longer allowed to slurp her fruit punch noisily through a straw just because it’s so wonderfully refreshing and sugary?
Why, indeed, is the common phrase seemingly always about youthful enthusiasm, yet we tacitly agree to let only actual youths embrace it?
Despite being of an age where my childhood version of the high swing was of rock-hard rubber on a steel pipe frame and underlaid with gravel-strewn dirt, I am—well—still alive at this age. I never broke a single bone or chipped a tooth, and my only stitches derived from an indoor activity, a school game of floor hockey. Though I wandered recklessly through many a stream and ocean’s shallows, without regard for my pants or my tender soles, and even drank from the occasional icy mountain brook, the worst that ever came of it was a cut from beach glass, soon enough cleansed with stinging but healing salt water. No clothes were ruined, and I got bit by nothing bigger than a sand- or horse-fly or two. I failed to contract Giardia or E. coli from those wild rivulets I sipped. Even the vast quantities of evil cyclamates in my childhood fruit drink binges failed to kill me off.
So how is it that I lost my ability to plunge ahead without caution to where I seemed, nearly always, to find joyful things? Remind me how always being responsible and mature and playing it safe is better for me.
But write it in a note and slip it under my door. I feel the need to go out and look for a little happy trouble.
Faint as the smoke from a fir-branch fire
far off on the foggy shore,
Where salt-stung sea choruses a choir
as the tide rolls more and more
Of the oyster shells in its back-and-forth,
tumbling them to pearly dust,
I can hear the birds winging from the north
as each Fall they surely must,
And I watch as they darken the silver skies
in a wave of shivering black,
Sailing south toward warmth with their anguished cries,