9/12/19

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

The Moments are fairly easy to write when they’re tangible – something my daughter did, or I did, or someone did. I’m more aware of them than I used to be, largely because of this blog. Last week, soon after I posted the Moment, another moment happened on the road to a coffee shop in Wonewoc. I made it just a regular Facebook status. That night, when I went to bed, I was thinking about it and smiling and then thought, Damn! Why didn’t I save it for next week’s Moment?

Because sometimes Moments happen that aren’t tangible. They’re just in-depth feelings. That’s what this week’s Moment is about, and when I sat down to write it, I thought again, Damn! Why didn’t I save that moment with the Amish woman for this? It’s hard to get across how special a quiet Moment can be.

But here goes.

I’m at that part of my retreat where things begin to switch from peaceful to panic. This is Thursday, and I go home on Saturday. By Monday, my schedule is back in full swing. My thoughts have gone from “I have all day, all week, all two weeks, to write and sleep and read and enjoy!” to “Ohmygod, I only have three days, two days, one day!” I begin to hurry my relaxation. Quick! Quick! Get that story written! Get that book read! Sleep! Don’t get up now, by next week, you won’t be able to sleep this late! Pack it in! Pack it in!

Which sort of defeats the purpose, donchaknow.

Yesterday, I planned to take a break and drive to one of my favorite spots in La Crosse, Granddad’s Bluff. It’s a beautiful drive up the bluff (especially when you’re in a convertible) and the view of three states and all the rivers is breathtaking. There is also a lovely little outbuilding there, with fireplaces on either end, and every time I go up, I stand in it and imagine giving a reading there. I will, someday.

Normally, when I’m in this area, I stay in La Crosse. But this time, I’m in a lakefront cottage on Lake Onalaska. When I put Granddad’s Bluff on my GPS, I was disheartened to find it was a half-hour away. Which meant my break would end up including an hour of driving, plus the time up there to really make it worthwhile, and I wanted to stop at Starbucks too, and I needed to pick up a few things at Walgreens. And I really, really, really wanted to get to the end of a first draft of this new story/chapter so I could figure out what it was supposed to be about. So in my new hurry up and relax and get things done mode, I nixed the trip to Granddad’s Bluff. But the day before, I saw an overlook that was close by. I decided to stop there.

I’m so glad I did.

Sunny the Sunfish’s overlook, besides having a huge statue of Sunny the Sunfish, has a gorgeous view of three different bodies of water. The Mississippi River, the Black River, and Lake Onalaska are all there, side by side and blended and just stunning. I got out of my car, sat down on a bright purple bench donated in someone’s memory, and just looked. I can’t say it was quiet; the overlook is right next to a busy highway and cars and trucks were zipping by. But a quiet descended upon me anyway. I just looked and admired. I remembered how, years ago, I had a wonderful client who lived on the gulf side of Florida. When I asked how you could possibly tell when the gulf became an ocean, she sent me a photograph of the two bodies of water, side by side. The colors were different. The ripples were different. But they sat peacefully together. I was amazed. Just as I was amazed at the three bodies of water in front of me now.

Obvious metaphor, right? Three bodies of water, each with their own agenda, going about their businesses, but working together too.

While I sat there, two other cars pulled up at the overlook. The drivers didn’t get out. They just sat in their front seats and looked.

What smart people. They took the time. So did I.

Just like the bodies of water, the three of us sat there. Two in their cars, me on the bench. The noise behind us. The quiet upon us. We each had our own agenda. But we shared this space.

Can I just say it was a sacred moment without trying to describe the life out of it? Because it was. Shared with two people who were strangers, remained strangers, and who I’ll likely never see again. And shared with the quiet strength of three bodies of water.

I was the first to leave. The other two cars were beyond mine, and when I walked to Semi, I smiled at the drivers. They lifted their hands to me, then returned to looking at the water.

That’s it. That’s all there was.

But it was glorious.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

(Be home soon.)

The Overlook.
Yep. Sunny the Sunfish.
This is the view outside my cottage. Lake Onalaska is gorgeous.

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