Here it is [This has taken me 31 years to learn about myself]: I was afraid I wasn't taking it all in deeply enough. What if I'm not enjoying this to the fullest extent? I knew my time with such beauty was limited and I just wanted to be big enough to fill all the way up, to remember it all exactly, so I could carry it home with me. There's a Mary Oliver line about this (there's always a Mary Oliver line about this):
Have I lived enough? / Have I loved enough? / Have I considered Right Action enough, have I / come to any conclusion? / Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? (The Gardener)
It's been a long, suffocatingly dark winter and I needed the beach. I needed to stand in front of something bigger than myself and feel small. So I searched out a cheap hotel deal, I persuaded Todd into "just one more vacation," I talked the Wakefields into coming along and splitting costs, I bought a plastic bucket and a shovel for Eli, I willed the snow in northern Alabama to give way, I loaded us all in the car for a seven hour trip, I checked us into the hotel, and then I bolted for that shoreline.
It's easy to imagine that I chased this beauty and after all of this effort, I needed to make sure I didn't waste it. And so I felt anxious.
The next morning I woke up early and made for that same spot and I got an image in my head of me, standing there in front of all of that water, with my hands cupped open in front of me, full and running over. Along with this image, a little nudge: I don't have to make myself big enough to contain it all. I just have to cup my hands and accept what I can hold.
Saturday morning, a week later, my toes in my slippers and not in the cold wet sand, I read this: