The Subject of Renewal


The sunset this evening cast the ocean as a watercolor symphony. My unenhanced photo probably does not do justice to its perfection, the lavenders, the grays, the turquoises, the pinks.

The entire day was lovely, from the lulling rain showers in the morning while my eyelids were still heavy to the cloudy day with spurts of sunshine and winds and voluminous gray clouds giving way to azure skies only to be clouded over again. What few people tend to realize is that you have the best sunsets after storms, when the clouds hang heavy and catch the light of the setting sun peering through a prism. Just as you can appreciate the significance and beauty in your own life after you have weathered emotional storms.

I thought of writing a fictional story for renewal, but found myself edging toward corners I wasn’t wanting to traverse, not this evening. Instead, I thought of myself here in one of the places that from my childhood I heard was wild and fragile and beloved: the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Last year, the instant I stepped out onto the deck and felt the ocean breeze, chilled, rushing against my cheeks, I felt renewed. This year, it’s longer in coming. I have arrived with too much baggage. I need to shift some of the weight, toss aside the baggage, before renewal can be mine.

I didn’t visit the ocean until I was 22. My childhood reared me as a mountain girl, traipsing through pine woods in West Virginia, overturning rocks in streams for salamanders and crayfish, adoring the undulating flight of the goldfinch as they sought their next purple-headed thistle.

It took many trips to the ocean, mostly to Sandbridge and OBX, before I made my claim. I am not one to seek noise or boardwalks or commercialism. They are fine in their place, in limited quantity. I don’t need much outside stimulation. My mind is comfortable. I seek nature and natural settings. These are the things that renew me. The quiet. The call of cardinals, blue jays, great horned owl. The foxes screeching. The ocean. The wind. In these things I find renewal from the trappings of the electronic age, the endless faces illuminated by cellphones, the beeps, the jangles, jingles.

I recognize that as we are each different, we each find renewal, regeneration in different places. Mine is here.

end 12/30/2016 (begun on 12/29/2016)

S. Darlington

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