Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beach Retreat

“Here's the problem,” I said to God while we sat crocheting. “I can't stand single crochet anymore.” God said nothing, so I continued. “Single crochet is . . . boring. It's the most basic, dull stitch there is. Anybody can do that one.”
“Anybody?” God asked. “I've had more than a few people tell me it's difficult to do well.”
“I just mean, it's nothing spectacular,” I continued. “When you get into the double and triple crochet, that's when things get interesting.”
“Single is how everyone begins,” God reminded me.
“But they don't stay there,” I protested.
“Some do. There are beautiful, intricate patterns that can only be created from single crochet. You've seen a few.”
I sighed. “This isn't really about crochet.”
“Yes, beloved, I know.”
“Of course you know,” I huffed. “You know everything.”
I could tell God was trying not to laugh. It annoyed me in the way you can only get annoyed with someone you really love.
“I don't want to be single crochet,” I said quietly. “At least not forever. This is not what I hoped for, not what I had planned. How long do I have to be alone?”
God stayed maddeningly silent, but kept working the yarn, counting every stitch.



There’s nothing quite like early morning light. 
I’m always amazed at the magic that happens on an early morning walk. I managed to wake to take a sunrise walk while at Camp St. Christopher where I went for a women’s retreat at Providence Baptist Church. Having to shed my shoes and wade through chilly high-tide surf, I made it to the beach-front side of the island. There I watched the sun start the day, but got the eerie sense that someone was watching me.  I turned to scan the houses behind me, but saw no one.   Catching movement in the dunes,  I realized six deer were standing still, same posture, ears cocked,  perfectly alert as if frozen by the light - all of us in silent reverence for the start of the day.
So some time this week or this holiday season - rise early - and receive the blessings.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ Mary Oliver ~ 

(Why I Wake Early, 2004)



Walking takes longer...than any other known form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed.   ~ Edward Abbey, "Walking"

It took me a while to get used to sand.  I grew up an Appalachian mountain girl.   Life in the South Carolina lowcountry,  only six miles from the ocean, has been an experience in flat land, tidal clocks and sand... everywhere.   On my feet, in my hair, on my children, in my car, in the house.    I started digging a garden in my back yard and what did I find but oyster shells and ...sand.   (And some weird clay dirt... but we won’t go into that.)  

What I have found is that sand slows you down.  I’m normally a fast walker.  At the store, on my walks, up the stairs, across the parking lot... I walk fast.  But not in sand.   I can run (sort of) on the hard packed sand left by the surf -  but not in soft sand.  There’s really no way to move fast there.  And that’s a good thing.  Sand slows me down.  Walking out to the beach,  I have to step carefully and with purpose.  Different muscles in my hips and legs push me forward.    I watch out for sand spurs and fire ants, paying attention. 

I see the yellow flowers and the worn rope that edge the path.  I stop and take a picture.  I’m not moving forward in a rush to my destination.  I'm  breathing and present and listening.  Here in the sand. 


1 comment:

  1. Well said, Stacy, well said!