March 2018 SOLC–Day 24
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The beauty of the pink-tinged horizon tugged me toward the bay. I looked at the clock in the car. I still had time. I turned right to head down to the water for a moment of serenity, to welcome the day with the sunrise.
When was the last time I did this? I wondered, as I drove. Greeting dawn by the water is a lovely, peaceful way to start the day. With the bay only a mile from home, I used to do it quite frequently. What changed? Why did I stop taking these few extra minutes?
Then I realized what had happened. Last spring a woman died by suicide there. Self-inflected gunshot. A man discovered her body early in the morning. When my husband told me, I remember thinking, “That could have been me finding her.” And then I felt guilty for thinking of myself. I can’t imagine the pain that woman was in and the horror that man experienced when he found her body. But still, I thought about the what ifs and that painful scene stained the place in my mind. Tainted its serenity. I had been back to the park since, but never in the morning.
So yesterday morning, I pulled into the parking lot. Color seeped up from below the horizon, silhouetting tree branches. Ice still covered the water in sheets of white, traversed by occasional rifts and cracks. On a small open area beneath the bridge, black and white birds paddled and swirled in the current. It’s a beautiful place.
I thought again about that woman. What drove her to make that desperate, final choice? Why here? And I thought about that man. How has his life been impacted by that early morning discovery? I thought about all the places we walk through or drive past, oblivious to their physical and emotional history, both distant and more recent. I thought about how I had unconsciously avoided coming to the park in the morning for almost a year, even though I had experienced such quiet joy there so many times.
What’s the heart of this moment? I had hoped writing about it would help me sort through my feelings, but I’m still figuring it out. But stepping out of the car yesterday morning, I made a conscious decision to resume my early morning visits. I will remember the pain of others, but still, I will allow the lure of a pink-tinged sky to pull me down to the water. I will take the time to watch the sunrise, to rejoice in the optimism inherent in dawn. And I will be thankful for the peace and serenity of this beautiful place.