Looking Outside Yourself to Discover the Light Within
It’s taken nearly half a century for me to realize that when I travel, it’s not so much the experience of a new destination I have been wanting. What I truly seek is a new experience of myself. No plane, train, automobile or boat is going to get me there. So there I was in Northern California, a flight of more than 3,000 miles from our home in South Florida. Husband and I were enjoying a getaway at Half Moon Bay, a lovely resort on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. As is the custom, guests gather on the lawn at sunset. A lone bagpiper, so noble in his tartan kilt, provides the soundtrack as the sun sinks slowly into the ocean.
The sunset serenade was lovely — for about 90 seconds. At which point my husband and I exchanged glances. Loving gaze? Um, no. More like tandem eye rolls. We joined in a silent wish for the sun to fast-forward its descent, bringing an end to the bagpipes’ apparent misery. As the shrieking clearly was not going to stop anytime soon, I turned my attention from hearing to seeing. I scanned the lawn. If anyone else seemed as annoyed by the noise as we were, I knew I’d feel better about myself. Not the case. To a one, every other individual around us looked content and fully engaged in the moment. A toddler toddled, arms outstretched, finally falling into her mother’s lap with an infectious giggle. An elderly couple at a cafe table clinked glasses and swallowed a swig of wine in unison. Nearby, a camera-ready family of four arranged a blanket on the velvety grass. just as my eyes fell upon them, the young brother and sister stood and walked purposefully to the middle of the lawn. The girl was about 12 years old, her brother maybe 9. The tow-headed siblings faced each other. Without a word they joined hands and began to sashay up and back on the grass. Stopping, twirling, and sashaying again and again and again. Utterly unselfconscious. At one with the music and the waning light. It was only when I felt my eyes welling and overflowing did I realize I had been moved to tears. Transported.
I didn’t need wings, tracks, wheels (or outboard motor) to get to that forgotten place in my soul. I needed only my eyes. Not to look, but to truly see.