It began as we celebrated my Mom’s 85th Birthday and discussed some untypical things she might like to experience. When she mentioned a trip to the ocean Tracy was quick to suggest that June 22, 2014 would be a fine morning to experience a sunrise at Hampton Beach here in New Hampshire. Mom hadn’t seen the beach in 14 years while Autumn perhaps had never experienced it. No matter that this would be the earliest sunrise of the year, we packed into the car and drove east before 4 am.
Even the car ride was powerful as Mom and Tracy took turns describing the dark outline of trees and horizon even as the sky began to lighten and cast an other worldly feeling to the ride. These simple sunrise moments happen every day yet all too often we are sleeping through them or necessarily tending a morning’s pace which doesn’t allow us to bring the beauty into focus.
Reaching the beach we were treated to the artistry of the prior day’s annual Sand Castle competition. I’m told it’s difficult to believe these creations are entirely sand as they are so finely detailed, using variations of color and texture to create their elaborate patterns. Certainly some were more captivating than others but they all created an additional wonder into a morning dedicated to the magic of experience.
Soon it was time to appreciate the full rising of the sun and 50 degrees and breezy made that appreciation a little more chilly than ideal. Still the sky’s vibrant colors continually morphed as the light horizon clouds captures the sun well before it reached our horizon. Vivid pinks, oranges and reds were strewn across the sky brighter and brighter in anticipation of the moment the sun’s first direct rays would reach us. Buildings on a promontory point decorated the view across the small bay and then suddenly everything was bright and seemingly in an instant the full sun was in the sky and climbing it’s way upwards.The sudden nature of that transition stuck with me this morning. Change is so often sudden.
All of this might be enough for a typical blog post but one more experience was in the works. With Autumn in harness we strolled properly past the “No Dogs Allowed” sign and made our way to the sand and the surf. For me there’s such a powerful blend of senses. The cool breeze on my face, the salty sea smell in my nose, the shifting sand beneath my feet and the beautifully soothing sound of the tide’s endless progress back and forth upon the land. As gulls gave their occasional cry Autumn was captivated and took a few suggestions to change her angle away from the birds and towards Tracy, Mom and the water. Suddenly her entire being was captivated by the mystery she was facing. She wanted to walk steadily towards the water and as each subsequent wave surged further forward she would hastily retreat. It was a dance I shared with her as she strolled forward and then leaped backwards again and again. Giving her the freedom to explore and appreciating her wonder as well as the sound of my Mom’s laughter ringing out in response.
The moment was magical and I thought again upon the notion: “Pursuit of Happiness” which somewhere along the way had been taught to me perhaps a bit wiser: “Pursuit *as* Happiness.” It’s the journey and not the destination. It wasn’t the beach, the castles, the sunrise or the ocean which made this day so spectacularly poignant in my mind. It was each of them in their measure as the experience was met and appreciated. It was in the reactions of my family from the youngest, Autumn, through Tracy and to my Mom. Each had aspects which resonated for them and often were shared to bring me into their experience. It was always, however, the individual moments in a string of our own chosen moments. I guess that’s it for me, life is a string of our own chosen moments whenever we are willing and able to just make those choices.