Something about writing in the deep of the night elicits emotions and thoughts from the far recesses of my brain. It’s at these time that I feel most alone. When it’s just me and my words competing in a staring contest, and the words are winning. When the clock strikes midnight, my mind suddenly transports me to another world, and everything else melts away. This is also this time when my mind wanders off, quietly and carefully unearthing strange thoughts and weird ideas for me to ponder. The clock ticks on, but time has a different quality, moving both slower and quicker.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Last night, my mind wandered over to my mother. At that point in time, she was flying overhead at 600 mph towards Narita, en route to Taiwan, to attend a banquet being thrown in honor of my grandfather’s birthday. The perks of having a somewhat famous novelist grandfather means birthday banquets every year, I suppose, now that he’s passed the 90 year mark. (More on him later, I promise; he has his own Wikipedia page in Chinese, but there’s a shorter, English version.)
My relationship with my mother has developed over my lifetime into a deep, close friendship. We talk on the phone nearly every day, and she’s my go-to person for most of my life questions and problems. It was disconcerting to be unable to call her yesterday while she was flying overhead. So it wasn’t completely surprising that my inability to reach her while she was in the air yesterday resulted in my late-night mind browsing through the ephemeral nature of life.
My friends and I are beginning to reach a stage in our lives where we are realizing that our Baby Boomer parents are, in fact, aging. That they won’t live forever, and that they will one day be gone. Perhaps it’s a recognition of our own mortality that triggers it. We have begun discussing what our parents’ plans are for their future, inevitable departure.
Dark thoughts. For a dark night.
But today, as the sun climbs high into the sky, the darker thoughts are banished, and I realize that it is important to take the time to enjoy life. I am no longer as naïve as a child playing in the outgoing tide on a beach, but I’m still young enough to be optimistic about what the future holds for me.
Life is too short not to enjoy it.
So the beach. I was going to write about the beach.
We went to Stinson Beach last week to walk around and shoot some photos. It was a beautiful, January day, and the beach was actually filled with quite a few people. The usual road we took was closed, so we took a different route to the beach—one that echoed the hiking trail we once followed on a hike from the Muir Woods down to Stinson Beach.
When we arrived, we saw children playing in the sand and people strolling with their bare feet with their dogs and yogis enjoying the sun. It was so peaceful. The tide was on its way out, leaving shallow pools in its wake. It felt like we were seeing a mirage, but the water was real and reflected the bright sun light a mirror.
I was excited to discover a couple out making beautiful designs in the sand. I think it was Andres Amador (I don’t know anyone else who does beach painting other than him). A google image search of his work reveals geometric designs of gigantic proportions.
With a baby strapped to his back and his wife/girlfriend helping, the artist first made guidelines, then used a rake to create the actual design. These designs, of course, aren’t permanent. As soon as the tide comes in, they’re washed away. Reflecting, I suppose, my own thoughts about the impermanent beauty of life.
I wish we had stayed until he finished—probably hours later—but we had dinner plans and couldn’t stay. I hope I run into him again.