Day 225 - Bioluminescence
It is that time again when the tiny organisms arrive on our coast and put on a spectacular show at the beach. It is something to sit there in the dark and watch as they light up the wave fronts. Like everything in life, they come and go too quickly.
My daughter and I decided to catch the show Friday night. So we headed to the beach about 7:30 to spend a little time before the sun went away for the day. It was lovely and empty...we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We laughed as we watched our border collie chase birds she will never catch, run the beach like someone just shot her out of a canon. She was in heaven and we were transported there with her because you couldn’t be anything but watching her face as she pounded the sand.
While time may have been standing still for us, not so much for the park ranger who called us in and requested we take our leave. Me forgetting that the beach we usually inhabit is actually a park and closes at dark. We were going to head home and just skip it since our plans were diverted but we decided to try again at another beach.
This used to be my favorite beach for a variety of reasons but since Lane’s departure, it has become a place I avoid because it is so closely associated with him. And, while I hate to admit it, thinking of him and the beginning still hurts too much sometimes. So I avoid it and him and memories that I am able to forget by just staying away. That particular place belonged to him...forever. I have tried to go and make new memories there but those attempts have been lacking and resulted in failure. That place is almost haunted for me. I can see him and me and the budding us everywhere. And, as much as I would like to deny it, still pains me because I cannot seem to avoid the rabbit hole of remembering how we began and how much I waited all my life for that to happen to me...
But for my daughter, potential emotional pain be damned, we said we were going to see them and so Padaro was our best chance.
I felt like I was possessed even as I got off the highway on Santa Claus Lane. It is like I am stuck in some sort of groove that is deep and well worn and I can’t get out of...but we pressed on.
We found a spot by the rocks and settled in for the darkness to permeate. For me, the darkness had already settled in, the moment we decided to go...
As we sat there, my daughter started telling me things. Deep things. Things that she had kept to herself before. She almost seeming to compete against my internal picture show that reviewed my past. It was as if she knew that I needed to be pulled away from the morbid reflection to a place where I could be in the present. She decided to bring me current by sharing things that every parent of a teen wishes they would share.
I was momentarily irritated that I was being asked to mentally go somewhere other than the past. I seemed to need to recount the beginning of me and Lane: that we first met there, the love at first sight moment, the intimate dinner that neither of us ate, the walk on the beach and then the moments in the sand by the rocks. It all had forever belonged to him. A temple to what was and was no longer.
But here was this teen talking to me about things that she usually keeps private. Opening up to me and inquiring about my life and asking me questions that were personal and intimate. She seeming to read that I needed intimacy and closeness in this place.
Mentally I stood on a bridge between past and present. I was unsure which way to turn...and then I saw a glimpse of the bioluminescence in the crash of a wave and I knew that the present was the only place to go.
I do believe that a part of me that was long inaccessible was brought to life upon that beach. When I met Lane our mutual luminescence combined to produce a love affair that was life altering. I think both of us seeing each other in a way and manner which had never before been within reach. He lit me up in a way that no one ever had before. Bringing body, mind and spirit to dwell in my body. I was something better with him. I was more me and because of his nearness, I glowed in a new way. For a long time that glow has been gone. I have tried to recapture it with him many times to no avail. I have tried to rekindle it with others but I have always fallen short.
But Friday night on the beach with my daughter, I was brought to life again. Of course not in the same way or manner. But in a new way that was previously dormant or unknown. As I sat with her under a star filled sky, her sharing her secrets and welcoming me into her interiority, I realized that the present is the place I want to dwell in body, mind and spirit. I want to inhabit myself and be present for my life. I want to light up because I can and it is time.
Just as I made the decision to leave the past where it lay, she laid her head down on my stomach and we looked at the planets and stars. I no longer wished for what I lost or perhaps never even really had. In that moment, my daughter’s bioluminescence commanded my full attention and I wanted what I had. Right there in that moment. I wanted her and to have her know how very much I love her and am amazed by her every day.
We sat quietly among the stillness of the night...the crashing waves. The tiny beings sharing their light show however dimly. I could see that we are all given this opportunity, to share our essence with others. To let ourselves be seen. To glow. We have a choice to not just let our lights shine once in a while but every day. We can choose to go through this life with our essence hidden or dormant or we can choose to light up our lives with who we are being accessible and available to all we encounter.
Friday night, I soaked it in. I felt her presence and I shared my own with her. We sat there anticipating a show of lights but that show was overtaken by the sharing of a different kind of light show. The sharing of our own internal glow, the parts of each of us that is fragile, delicate and scared. The part that allows for there to be alchemy in the exchange of thoughts, dreams and feelings. One being shining their light onto another...
So I learned that perhaps bioluminescence is the product of intimacy shared. When I allow myself to be intimate with another human being, I see their light and they see mine. And that is an amazing feeling. On Friday, I saw my daughter in a new way. I saw myself newly also. I saw that shutting down the love doesn’t stop it, it only stunts its growth because love always finds a way. Friday night love came to me in the form of a 13 year old’s bioluminescence while sitting on a beach that I avoided, watching for tiny organisms to dazzle us with their show. I learned that I missed a lot in the intervening years, my unwillingness to lean into the pain of the past, limiting my enjoyment of the present.
And I learned that Padaro belongs to no one. Not Lane. Not the past. Not who I used to be. Not to love that is no more. The past only haunts you when you let it. My refusal to go prevented any new memories being created there. Now Padaro commands my future and my own journey to discover my own bioluminescence. And, perhaps, one day, find another to love, sharing intimacy and soulful glow.
For now, I am going to reflect on my own luminosity and to slow down enough to see this quality in others. Learning, yet again, that the lessons abound in even the tiniest of creatures when I step out and away from fear and safety. The whole world shines, when I shine. Funny, that I didn't ever really get to experience that until now. Shine on everyone, shine on.