The Calm and the Storm


Tommy and I went to the Oregon coast for Thanksgiving.  I spent the weekend on a sort of serenity high, feeling expansive and content, full of possibilities, bathed in wonder, connected to the earth and the gentle tides and the endless horizon. 

The drive home was similarly magical – we were surrounded by fog, creating a muted sense of both comfort and mysticism, as if we were safe in a cocoon that could open to reveal a beautiful secret at any moment. 

When we got home, I crashed into a minor depression.  Nothing really happened to cause this, except perhaps the mounting anxiety of obligations that comes with returning from a vacation.  Coming out of the depression, I built my website in a flurry.  It’s been down for about 4 years, corresponding with a mountain of major life changes that I’ve been going through. 

There’s a metaphor here that feels at once elusive and clear: the fear and confusion and muck I’ve been trudging through as I’ve navigated the slurry of 180-degree shifts in the past several years is akin to any part of the tidal process that feels oppressive or scary: the big wave has just crashed down on my head; or the tide is in and is covering the entire beach, making beach walking impossible; the big storm cloud has just obliterated the sun; rain has been pouring down torrentially with no end in sight. 

But here’s the thing: the big wave that crashed on my head will continue to shore and flow peacefully back to sea.  The timeline might be more than a few seconds, but the process is the same.  The tide that has covered the beach will go back out, and I’ll be able to walk on the sand again.  The storm will subside; the sun will rise again. 

I’m not sure exactly where in this metaphor I am right now.  Maybe multiple places at once.  Maybe it’s impossible to really tell for sure because it’s always changing so fast.  But I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear or sadness or regret.  If I remember, I can learn from the ocean and trust that even when I don’t feel them, the beauty and wonder are always there.  That next wave is coming, and it always will be. 

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