I will be honest.
The drive here was not easy. Thankfully, I was listening to a good book on my iPhone, so that was a distraction. But as I got closer to my destination, I kept having to remind myself to breath. I kept having to remind myself that I needed to just breath – not think – not speculate – not reflect -just be in the moment.
Enjoy the smell of the ocean.
Enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the shore.
Enjoy the view as birds – sea gulls and pelicans – flew by as I drove the coast.
No, this is not the trip it was supposed to be.
Yes, I am alone.
Yes, I wish things were different.
Yes, I will live.
I finally turned up the radio, opened all the windows and the sunroof, and let it all just surround me.
I had driving the distance from Portland to my destination on the coast listening to what may be the oddest audio book – The Tao of Willie Nelson. I’ll be honest – Willie Nelson peppered my childhood. My dad loved all kinds of music, and Willie was one of his favorites. I appreciated the man. I appreciated the music. I appreciate how he treated my dad each time he met Willie. He treated him like an old friend – with sincerity and an honesty that made my dad remember him more. The book seemed interesting, so I thought I would listen to it – it’s odd, it’s unique, and it was exactly what I needed.
As I drove , Willie Nelson reminded me to breath.
As I drove, he told stories about just living in the now – be happy NOW. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about yesterday. Just be. Be the road. Be the ocean. Be in the now.
And that is what I tried to do.
I tried to laugh at his jokes that littered his wisdom.
I was in awe of his wisdom – in how intelligent the man it.
And I remembered why I liked him – the poetry of his lyrics and his message.
I arrived to the hotel and my jaw dropped as they gave me the room number. I thought it was the same room we had last time. Thankfully – it was not. Same floor, different room. Knowing this allowed me to exhale – allowed me to relax a bit.
I put my stuff in my room – my camera gear, my clothes, my ukulele. I grabbed my camera and headed to the pub across the street, on the beach. I went to the bar, ordered an IPA, and sat on the patio sipping my beer, breathing in the ocean, and watching the surfers and kayakers attack the waves. When I was done, I headed to the beach to take pictures.
I’d share some of my photos but forgot my card reader. I am kicking myself as I wanted to see the photos taken with my new lens so I could adjust things tomorrow. Oh, well.
Then I headed back to the pub for an early dinner. I sat alone at the bar, sipping a beer, watching football, and listening to those around me. The two women next to me lamented various aspects of their lives. Not being happy – but wishing for more, being jealous of others, and trying to sort out if they could relax tonight. To my left was the gay couple. They were trying all of the beer, eating a snack, and trying to sort out what they wanted to do. I just sat there quietly drinking my beer, eating my food, and just being. It’s funny how much you can learn just being quiet.
I went back to my room and played my uke for a while. The patio door was wide open so I could hear the ocean. And each time I paused, the neighbors to me seemed to be loud and obnoxious – so I played some more trying to mask their annoying sounds that reminded me of a frat party. After a while, I headed back to the beach to capture the sunset.
I walked along the beach – low tide – and snapped photos of the sun as it headed towards the horizon. I enjoyed the alone – I laughed at the kids chasing the waves. I wandered to the rocks usually covered by water, but exposed at low tide. I ran my fingers across the backs of the starfish. I picked up baby crabs that were exposed. I touched the rock covered with sea anemones to see them all close in mass. And I snapped more photos as the sun set.
I won’t lie. Tears have flowed. A few times. As I watched the rabbits gather at sunset. As I sat on the balcony watching the ocean. As I tried to distract myself from the fact I’m alone. But each time, I let them flow – let them dry – then breath – and smile – and just be. Like the waves hitting the shore, I just need to ride them out until they dissolve.
After the sunset, I wandered back to the hotel. I sat on the balcony – and took a few more photos.
I texted some friends. I read. I showered. I stood in my nightgown on the balcony and breathed in the air.
There is something nice about the ocean – nice and healing. Nice and constant. Predictable, but not predictable.
Tomorrow, I may spend the whole day sitting on the beach – just being. We’ll see if that happens. I know a lot of time will be spent there. And relaxing. And trying to exhale. And breath.