Enjoy moment along the way

Coastline Pilot

…Sunlight warms a grateful cat. The excitement builds around town. One can feel it while out and about. Vacation time is near. Festivals are building and about to begin. Graduation activities abound for many. Weddings are taking place. We begin to shift to a different mode.

Amid a flurry of pre-summer activity, I still managed to choose a leisurely drive home back down the coast from Long Beach on a recent day. The cobalt sky melted into the blue-green of the sea as pelicans, gulls and other sea birds swooped overhead. Scattered surfers plied the waves near shore. I was ever so grateful not to have taken the freeway route just for the speed of it. I would have missed this beautiful reminder.

We are so fortunate here for this moment of fleeting time. Certainly, the debacle along the Gulf Coast should remind us of this if nothing else does.

Admittedly, there is a great deal of suffering and horror in the world. But we are a world of polar opposites. For all the bad, there is also myriad goodness to embrace. And we need to embrace it, for in the next blink of an eye it may disappear.

So this is why I was so struck by my coastal drive home. The sun was out. The sky was blue. The air was clear. A light breeze swayed the tops of trees as I passed. A farmers' market at a beachside parking area caught my attention. Why not stop? What really was so pressing elsewhere? If not now, when?

Parking the car was easier than anticipated. I grabbed a light jacket, crossed the highway. For some reason, I was diverted and wanted to drag my toes through the sand. So I took off my sandals and moved that direction, eyes scanning the sea as I went.

Sometimes wonderful things happen in a moment. This was one of those moments. As I walked through the sand on the mostly deserted beach on this lovely day, a brown pelican landed on some nearby flotsam. So close. I just stopped, not wanting to startle it. With great care, I knelt down on the sand and just watched.

I am enthralled with the pelican anyhow and have written of it at times in the past. This was a rare and beautiful opportunity. I do not know how long I watched. The bird and I seemed caught up in not caring about time at all. The pelican showed me a more graceful side as it preened, stretching out its large wings and neck, then gathering them back in. Looking my way, I wondered if it even noticed me as another species or if I was just another bit of flotsam. I remained unmoving and continued to watch as time stretched itself out to accommodate.

At last, the brown pelican sought other places and lifted off and flew away. I was less graceful as I rose up off the sand. The stiffness with which I moved told me more time had passed than I might have imagined.

I continued on to the farmers' market and walked through before heading back to my car. As I continued the easy drive home I thought to myself how important it is to grab onto these moments and enjoy them as well as we may. If what comes our way is truly wonderful, then who could deny us the enjoyment?

Look at that contented cat as she languishes in the sun. Only this moment exists, no other. Without anxiety, she basks gratefully in the pleasure of the present.

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