Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eye Spy

Curled up in my window seat I watched the world from cruising altitude, the lights of the cities below twinkling bright white and gold, and I couldn’t help but think how quickly the landscape turns into a starry night sky from above. My window was foggy, my face pressed up against the glass as I descended towards the west coast. I was home. There is always a wave of relief when I touch down on home turf. Heels are replaced with Danskos; fitted blouses are traded for polar fleece, and messy hair and black down jackets are accepted at all high-end restaurants.

A close family friend once told me that our eye color is based off the places that we love most–places we are meant to be. For example, if your eyes are a deep forest green, you long for long walks on muddy trails, sticky pinesap between your fingers, and twigs in your hair. If your eyes are amber brown, you yearn for arid desert trails, chasing rattlesnakes high into the mountains, the warm sun hitting your face. For those crystal icy blue eyes, you prefer flying down the side of a mountain, thrive off speed you can only get on the slopes, and look forward to gathering around a campfire to warm frozen fingers and toes.

As for me, my blue-green eyes dream of deep blue oceans, sea green waves crashing against the shore, a cold tide filled with plenty of kelp. My happiest place is walking along the edge of the ocean, with my yellow lab. With each step the sea foam washes up under my feet, my jeans soggy around the edges of my ankles, the salty air leaving tangles in my hair. The dark grey clouds clear the people off the beach and I am the only one for miles, wandering through the fog.

What is it about the ocean that can cure the head and the heart? Is it the wide-open horizon, a clean slate that calms the mind? It is the air? The salty, sandy, cold wind that clears the head. Is it the rhythm of the waves? The tide washing in and out that assures you there is something out there bigger than you–bigger than all of us. Is it soaking wet (happy as can be) Labradors that greet you here and there? Is it the small fires that dot the beach at night, huddled with friends, family, and strangers alike? Is it the loss of time? The days that last forever, from long walks, to endless cups of coffee, the movies and board games that last long into the night.

The year is coming to a close. It’s a time for reflection, a time for gathering and a time to be thankful. It’s a time to be home, in the eye of your perfect place. Here at the beach I am able to simplify my whole world into a long walk.  After a day wandering along the edge of the ocean, I sit and look out over the waves, the blue green of the ocean looking back at me, I breathe deep and take it all in.

 This cup is for Suzzie: What a tradition this has become, so lucky to run into you year after year
And Emma, Sammy and Theo: because you know exactly why this is my favorite place on earth

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