Since I started this exercise, I am making a mental note of what is good and writing it down as soon as I get a chance. I am not allowing a good moment to pass by without acknowledging it. That is good in itself. However, India is blowing up in Covid cases, many flights going to India have suspended their service, CDC has rated India at the highest level of danger zone. So it has been hard to focus on the good lately but I tried and that has to be enough.
The ‘goods’ this week are as follows:
Ryan got his first Pfizer shot. Now both the kids have at least one shot in them.
Sahana had ordered a cap and gown for her upcoming virtual graduation from college. They came and she tried them on. The special day is not going to be what we hoped for but we will make the best of it.
I got to see 2 of Ryan’s high school water polo games. He is a mean defender and he scored 2 goals yesterday. Most importantly, he is so animated and happy on game days.
Our work will transition to one full day a week and I will get to work with my dear friend who I hardly see any more as our schedules are completely different these days.
I read Brother by David Chariandy for the second time for my book club and felt the author’s luminous prose at the core of my heart. Sometimes sheer beauty of words brings tears to one’s eyes.
I am rehearsing for a play that will be sent to North Atlantic Bengali Association in July. It is a short skit but I do enjoy acting and it takes my mind off from what is going on in real life.
I have quite a few good books waiting for me to read. They are adorning my book shelf. It makes me happy to look at them as they hold unknown stories within their pages.
I did some weeding this week. Although only half of the flower bed is done. I will tackle that.
Warmer weather is on its way.
We tentatively went out to eat in a restaurant. The restaurant was empty so we felt comfortable.
Sean and I went for a walk. As we talked I realized, yet again, how much I love him.
As I ground coffee beans for tomorrow’s first cup of coffee, I looked out of the kitchen window and witnessed a glorious sun set.
I am surprised that this list went on for as long as it did. I am glad I am writing this every week. I am thankful for all the ‘goods’ and the fact I am mindful of them.
I wanted to catch a sunrise from the balcony of our ocean front hotel room. I did not set any alarms to wake up at the time of sunrise, thinking my body will wake up in anticipation. It did, except it woke up just 10 minutes late. I saw Sahana sitting on the balcony, soft light of the morning sun gently illuminating her beautiful face. She turned her bright, happy smile towards me “I watched the sun rise!” This is what I got to see.
The sun had risen just above the horizon and the golden ball was reflected over the water. I missed sunrise by just 10 minutes. I consoled myself thinking it was the first morning of our last-minute beach vacation. We still had 5 more mornings to catch a sunrise.
The pandemic played havoc with our plans of going to India in May and Sahana’s move to college for her senior year. As each plan fell through, we shed a few tears and then hoped that that this year will pass, life will resume, perhaps in a reimagined way. We will see our loved ones in different parts of the world. Our children will go back to in person learning in a safe, virus free environment. Since Sean and I had both taken leave for a week to move Sahana in to her apartment in college (that plan fell through), we decided to take the time to replenish our reserves of patience, hope, resilience. We splurged and booked an ocean front room with a kitchenette. If I felt too anxious to go among people, I could simply sit on the balcony and count waves. Our previous beach vacation at the beginning of July was anxiety provoking for me. I wrote about it in “Kissing in the time of Corona”.
The day I missed my sunrise, we walked by the bay to catch the sun set. We were not disappointed. Nature, perhaps, knew that our soul needed some resuscitation and it suffused us with its glory.
The second day I missed the sunrise by 15 minutes. Why did I not set an alarm you ask? That is a good question. I guess I trusted my innate clock yet again.
My eyes opened on the third day when it was pitch dark in the room. I glanced at the clock to see the time. It was 6:05 am. The sun was supposed to rise at 6:10 am. I sat right up and rushed to the balcony. I open the door with care so as not to wake the rest of the family. Dense fog over the ocean dashed my hopes of seeing a radiant sunrise. Crestfallen, I went back to bed and slept till 8 am. I woke up to a sun kissed day and glistening sand. Fog robbed me of my sunrise but then the sun burnt away the fog to gift the ocean worshipers a gorgeous beach day.
Finally I viewed the glory on our penultimate day at the beach. Again, my biological clock woke me up. I looked at the time, whispered to Sahana if she wanted to view sunrise. She grunted something inaudible. The boys had no desire to chase sunrise, so I did not bother calling them. I tiptoed out to the balcony with my phone and witnessed the ball of fire making its journey to my part of the world. I found my religion in its splendor.
Myphone camera, of course, does not do any justice to the ephemeral beauty of sun rising over the ocean but the memory of that resplendent dawn is captured in my heart. This is simply a fragment of what I saw.
Life was at bay while I looked at the expanse of the ocean for 6 days, while my family kayaked in the still waters of the bay and I pulled my chair in the water soaking in the stillness and serenity in my soul. Life was at bay when we delighted in the sightings of wild ponies and walked the marshy lands to see unknown (to me) birds and snowy egrets, while we stopped at unexplored ice cream shops to taste homemade ice creams, while we ordered crab imperial and legs of snow crabs. The question “Do you have your mask on?” every time we left our hotel and seeing masked people on the road reminded us we were living through a pandemic. Those 6 days, from the safety of my balcony and sometimes from empty stretches of the beach, I simply sat and stared at the ocean. The hypnotizing crashing of waves, the endlessness of the ocean, the sand between my toes, the laughter of children playing on the beach, the comfort of a book in my hand and the closeness of my husband and children made me completely happy. The feeling of happiness was a conscious realization really. I said to Sean, somewhat bewildered, “I feel happy.” In these 5 or 6 months, I had forgotten how it felt to be completely happy.
We were masked for most part of our vacation. We cooked our meals and got take outs for some dinners. We never played miniature golf, which is our constant (apart from sun and sand) when we go to the beach. Yet, we found peace. Most importantly, perhaps, we filled up our reserves of hope that this phase of our lives too shall pass. We will reunite with humankind instead of going the other way, fearing contamination from my fellow human.
In the meantime, I will look back to this memory for sustenance on a dark and gloomy day.
Had a total Wordsworthian moment as I went to my backyard today, to do something very mundane, like letting the dog in. Wordsworth was awestruck seeing
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
In my case it was an ordinary tree, that too, leafless. A very familiar tree, standing like a sentry, in my own backyard made me stop and look at it for a few minutes. The beauty of the silent, serenity around me was fascinating. The sunset with glorious colors splashed all over the sky, and the leafless tree standing still at the edge of the yard. I
don’t know what made me stop because I seem to have ceased noticing these splendid gifts that nature has given us in abundance. I felt a sincere joy in being alive and fortunate enough to witness the sunset. Life, right now, seems like a marathon of schedules, plans, deadlines, activities. Passions have taken a back seat for a while, gone way down the totem pole. When I try to read at the end of the day, my eyes read the words yet my mind fast forwards to the next chore on my list. What happened to those days of reading with utter abandonment? Now, my constant refrain to my family is “let’s go, we are going to be late!” Can’t be late, life will go by us! I complain to whoever will listen, my children have no sense of urgency! Ryan and Sahana live in a world of their own where they control the time or timelessness. In my heart, however, I am wistful, envious. The sight of Ryan throwing his football up in the air or picking dandelions in the yard, seeing Sahana absorbed in her book, oblivious to the busy world around her, make me ponder. Where did those days go by? For me?
This tree, bereft of all its leaves, looked so regal and beautiful in the setting sun. I have read, analyzed, written papers on Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” more times than I care to count, but I think I finally understood the poet’s feelings, for the first time! Unlike him, my mind’s eye is not so sensitive and I will probably not recollect this beautiful scene in “vacant or in pensive mood”. Moreover, how often do I have “bliss of solitude” anyway? So I captured it in my camera to at least look at it again and share it with you all. Happy also that I could still stop to look at a bare tree at the backdrop of this splendid sunset. Not all is lost! This phase of my life is full, and hectic, yes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It would be great to have more time to look around me and see the wild flowers blooming, the sun setting in all its splendor between the trees in my backyard, the bird’s nest high up in the leafless tree silhouetted against the clear, blue sky. But one day, when my little ones don’t need me any more, this tree, the flowers and the spectacular sunset will still be there for me to look and rejoice. As long as I can still spot them and stop in my tracks to exclaim “Oh look! It is so beautiful!”, I need not despair.