I awoke today to a morning tinged with grey and paused to enjoy a full body stretch. A soundtrack of a white-noise played in the background—ocean surf pounding rhythmically.
Its familiar pulse connected me to childhood memories of summers at the beach. Days were spent frolicking in the icy Atlantic water then defrosting in the heat of the summer sun. Sometimes we rolled ourselves in the hot sand like doughnuts drenched in sugar and then body surfed the waves to rinse ourselves clean. There was a regular pattern to the daily activities; the highlight of the summer was the Fourth of July bonfire on the beach.
With this holiday is approaching, I recalled the celebrations of my youth. During the week prior to the fourth, everyone in the neighborhood contributed something to burn. Anticipation built as day by day the pile grew teepee-style until the Big Night. Along the stretch of beach, each neighborhood competed to erect the biggest pile.
Fathers dragged picnic tables to the beach and a neighborhood meal was shared. As the sun set and temperatures dropped, we’d bundle up in sweatshirts. When just the right amount of darkness had settled, the bonfire would finally be lit. Families sat around, mesmerized by the huge flames, bigger than the best forest campfire any of us had enjoyed. The moment was magical. A sense of family, of community, and patriotism blended. It doesn’t get much better than that. Happy Fourth of July. Celebrate with those you love .
Earlier this month I sat high on a mountain peak overlooking the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. From this vantage point the fortress ruins looked smaller than my son’s Lego blocks. Steep mountains ascended in clusters all around me, soaring to 11,000 feet+. When the sun rose into the sky it emerged between two sharp peaks as if the mountains were giving birth to the day.
At that moment I felt insignificant and incredibly inspired. Both the fortress below and the path I had climbed had been constructed by the hand of man. What enables a person to accomplish such audacious goals?
Vision? Certainly. Purpose too, plus a fair dose of courage. Ultimately though, it’s a willingness to persist, to chunk it down to daily effort. One must keep an eye both on the ultimate goal and simultaneously celebrate the daily victory in
small steps of progress.
Scaling the citadel’s ruins and hiking the path to the Intipunku (Sun Gate) high above challenged me in many ways. The air at that height is thin, my fitness level could have been better and though I don’t suffer from fear of heights, I do
have a strong survival instinct. (I consider myself a life-long member of the proverbial Safety Patrol.) My mouth was dry. My heart was racing. Was it the altitude? The exertion? The fear? Whatever … I was committed to getting to the top. As I climbed, I kept my eye on the goal not the edge and not the distance from my starting point.
Finally, I was there. I inhaled the moment, the majesty of it all, placed my gratitude stones and cast my intention to the mountains and engraved the moment on my heart. I will return to this experience whenever my Gremlins, What Ifs, and other distracting channels on my inner dialogue interrupt me.
I accomplished this so of course I can …
After returning from an amazing trip to Peru, the realities of normal life welcomed me home. From the thrill of paragliding over the cliffs in Lima and the awe-inspiring
opportunity to scale the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, I crash landed back
into my daily routine. Reality leapt back onto my radar screen with all of its
blipping demands: Bills. Mail. Work. Home.
That’s always a doozy. Every month there’s always an unexpected expense; that’s part
of the joys of home ownership. Now that we can’t count on our house to be an
increasing asset, this nasty habit of surprise expenditures is even more
annoying. Cue the violins while a whine…
While we were away our pool became a thriving colony of algae—iridescent green and
yellow contrasted with Dalmatian-sized spots of inky black. Several frogs had
taken up residence as well as a slender but lengthy snake. I’m usually quite
respectful of animal life, but I’ve got to admit: I really wanted to nail that
stinker. Fortunately—for the snake, that is, the pool guy retrieved the snake
and tossed it into the yard before I could suggest a more permanent solution.
After adding gobs of chlorine and brushing the pool for hours—trust me, it was hours,
I’ve got the blisters to prove it—the only survivor of my pool’s alien
population was the dreaded black algae. What’s so special about black algae?
They’re pretty primitive on the evolutionary scale but they’ve developed some
impressive survival skills. Black algae actually secretes a coating which
insulates it from the fatal effects of chlorine. Rather impressive for an
organism without a brain.
I’m a writer and an adoption coach so it got me thinking about how people build up layers of insulation to shelter them from hard times and harsh people. Survival is a primal instinct. I’ve been known to set up a barrier or two … so I guess I’m at least as smart as some algae! Maybe smarter; My pool is sparkling clean and the water reflects a lovely shade of aqua.
Now about those personal walls, I think I’ll save that for another post.