I first noticed the lambs in the field.
Two days ago, they grazed gracefully in the green grassy meadow. Babies spotted black and white and grey kicked their hind legs and nuzzled their mothers. Their unique markings caught my eye as I drove down the two-lane road, not sure where I needed to be at that moment.
Last night they caught my eye again.
This time, mothers and babies huddled close as the tule fog drifted in, coating their meadow with grey light and dropping dew on their wool. And as I glanced back to the road, John reminded me of how nervous he felt driving towards the headlights, the two of us, together. Parenthood always brings that anxiety of abandonment, the fear of leaving our kids parentless when we’re just having a normal day. Always the anxiety of ‘what if’. Always bringing me out of the moment.
‘Look at the sunset,’ he suggested. Ever cautious, he typically reminds me to keep my eyes where I’m going. If you look ahead, he shares, you’ll get where you want to be.
But tonight was different.
The sky, an exhale of pink and silver and mauve was not to be ignored. The first sunset of 2020, caught by chance, brings me to tears.
We’re reminded to make resolutions at this time of year, to identify what is wrong with us and our life, and try to fix it. As if just saying it, or writing it down at the stroke of midnight will somehow result in a different me. Drawing attention to an ‘all or nothing’ mentality as if it will spur me towards some sense of ‘betterness’.
For the last decade, making a resolution hasn’t been my focus for the turn of the December calendar. I’m not a ‘wind-up toy’ able to switch on a date; I’m the same ‘me’ I was the night before, maybe with a bit more anxiety thinking about the push to focus on something different.
My tears don’t stop as I pulled into Home Depot. The sky glows over the Berryessa Hills as I wipe my eyes with the cuff of my sweater and take a breath in. I make my purchase, and as we drive home the sky is dark, sunset replaced by stars shimmering energy drizzling down. I feel my breath like stardust now as I stop and start, careful to focus on the road ahead. Breathe in, breathe out. My intention surfaces with every inhale, a desire to pay attention – the intention to breathe in what I’m about to create.
The possibility of moving onward.
I don’t need the resolution to be outside, to search for your spirit. Every time I look up, the birds or the sunset or the stars of a fleck of spirit dust in candlelight refocuses me, reminding me that you are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.
I have intention.
I have daily practices beginning with my first breath of ‘thank you’ as my exhale hits the floor. It’s the same me as yesterday and the day before, just another reminder of the divine presence all around me.
I won’t see every sunset in 2020, no matter the strength of my resolve. Some days I’ll see sunsets on social media and wonder what I was doing that was more important. What could possibly take my focus away from right here, right now? I won’t hear every moment of birdsong outside my window. And I’m sure some days I’ll repeat my mantra ‘onward’ just to make it through.
But I will remember my intention of breath, my hope for the possibility of moving forward. I’ll feel your breath like stardust, shimmering down on my shoulders when I don’t know which foot to put first. I’ll know your spirit soars over me with a birds-eye, omnipotent view, reminding me to enjoy life. To breathe. And to just start again tomorrow.