Pre-waking Wonder

The sky was dark and billowy, grey in all shades. Vast and furious. Hungry. The waves swelled as the surf crashed in upon itself along the jagged Pacific Coast. Sand sucked beneath my feet with each step giving momentary witness that I was there. Within minutes each footprint would be erased. 

We were staying at a hotel on the cliffs overlooking Pismo Beach. The guys of the band were rock stars setting up to play a gig that night, and I was caught in a nameless space that I dared not feel or stretch beyond. I was not a girl in the band, and no longer an infatuated roadie. I was a mother. 

My baby girl was sleeping. I’d asked Angel who was coloring her mohawk pink, and her nails black, if she would stay in the room with the baby while I stepped out. Love as vast as the sea had smashed all my premade constructs, but who was I now? Motherhood as I knew it felt all too confining. A nagging fear hunted me through the days and nights. 

If immensity has a smell, the ocean’s briny odors of fish, salt air, and seaweed overtook and pulled me in. Called me. I kept walking. Damp air clung to my arms and face. The wind whipped my long hair loose from its knot. Why this fear of venturing out of my well-defined domestic life and career? What would I find? I wanted to dive in, I wanted to dance, to spread my arms open wide, but they were tethered to my sides. Who would see me? Who cared? No one. But my muscles—my mind—did not yet know how to extend, didn’t know where to go, how to do that. So, I kept walking. Sand ground beneath my heels. The waves and wind filled my senses. Sea gulls cried out.

I was preoccupied with my feet and of tide washing up closer and closer. How many minutes passed before I looked up? I rounded a bend, and then I saw him, a man out on a raised island of barnacled rocks. In the late afternoon mist, he looked as if he was walking on the water. He bent down and lifted a small object he’d found in the tide pools there. He held it out before him with both hands raised, giving it careful scrutiny, and maybe a blessing. Just then the clouds broke open and the sun splintered the sky, reaching far beyond the sea.

The air was filled with ozone and I stood transfixed with the rare gift of kairos, time outside of time. The skin on my arms prickled. My bohemian skirt was now soaked through and hugged my legs when the waves splashed up. Small pools swirled in around my toes as it ebbed out and I stood transfixed between heaven and earth, between land and sea, between slumber and pre-waking wonder. My breasts were heavy with milk. 

[This is merely a snapshot in my memory. I wanted to know the man. I wanted to know me. I was overwhelmed with unexplainable yearning, but with love too. My baby girl needed her mama and my husband would worry if I didn’t return soon. And somehow, I knew I was soon to awaken.]