BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


The Light of a New Day

The Light of a New Day

We get bogged down — in anticipation of the holidays, during the holidays, after the holidays, in our illnesses, and in winter’s long cold. We can’t get a break. It’s always something.

Once this is over, then . . . then . . . then . . .things will be better, life will be easier, we’ll be more organized, we’ll have time to breathe, we’ll start that project we’ve put off for way too long, we’ll get healthy . . .

And already, we’re bogged down again. We can’t seem to restart, or see things differently, or make the changes we long for.

Every year, I go to the Oregon Coast — for restoration. Every year I take the same photos, in the same places. I visit the same stores. I watch the waves, forever crashing on the rocks and cliffs. Perhaps a chunk of cliff has broken off, from the incessant wave-crashing, and fallen into the ocean since I was here last year. The only way to know is to compare my photos.

The ocean’s job is to crash on the shore, whether there’s a sandy beach, huge boulders, or tall cliffs. High tide, low tide. The ocean moves forward and pulls back, on and on and on.

The cliffs and rocks and beaches. Some stand for eons, some are washed away, a little bit every day. Remnants of ocean and land collect near the edges: drift wood, shells, kelp, crab shells, sea glass.

This process that’s continued since time began is not unlike the overwhelm we often feel. We try to stand strong, like the cliffs and rocks, while the daily details beat against us, over and over and over. And like the ocean we keep trying to change the landscape, to make things different, but our progress is seldom evident.

This year in Oregon I learned that everything looks different in the light of a new day.  The beige has turned to many greys. The rocks are purplish black. The sky is now deep. And there’s quiet water right in front of me — more than I saw yesterday. Even the morning fog is welcome relief from afternoon’s scorching sun.

I’m suggesting that it’s worth relooking, even at a very familiar scene, even at very familiar circumstances. Perhaps in the fog, or confusion, you can see the big rocks — the things that really matter. Perhaps you can see colors or hear words or gain understanding for what went unnoticed in the brightness and clamor of other days.

Become quiet and look again. Look in the dark, in the fog, by candlelight, by early morning dawn, and by the night as it wraps itself around you.

Life looks different in the light of a new day.

Until next Tuesday . . .

 

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