Thursday, August 16, 2007


Well, Wednesday arrived, and what I'd previously been hearing as a nudge turned imperative: I needed an ocean and fast. Why I needed an ocean I didn't know exactly; I could've guessed, sure. But my going on two decades now of listening and (usually) following without question has me (usually) no longer asking why. When I hear "this" or "Yes" (or "No") or "go," I obey. But the clincher came when I opened my box of business cards from myriad contacts over many years and found Mrs. Bent's right on top. On a clean, white card, in simple marine blue lettering, all but reaching up from the box read "White Caps" and beneath that "Apartments - Rooms." Though I'd gone to the box in search of something else, something business-related, I immediately recognized this "serendipitous" prompting for what it was: I picked up the phone and I dialed. It has been a few years since I'd stayed at her quaint, throwback-of-a motel, and she was well into her 80's then. One of these days, I thought, I'm going to call and she'll be gone. But in fact it was not her answering machine, or a computer announcing that I had reached a number no longer in service, but Mrs. Bent herself who answered the phone. I booked the room, Number 4, and Friday morning I'd be on my way!

"I should've checked the weather before I called," I said with a frown when I took a look at what Yahoo was predicting for the weekend. Rain all day Friday, for starters. It doesn't rain all day in August, does it? There went beach day No. 1 of only 3; I wondered if I should call and change the reservation. I can't tell you what had me resist or ignore that thought; I only know that by about 7 p.m. on Friday, standing on Herring Cove Beach near the easternmost tip of Massachusetts, I was moved to tears at what I beheld. I felt then as if I had come by Divine appointment.

The light on Provincetown is always special, often magical, but this evening, it was indescribable. The rain had stopped by then. The clouds were breaking, beginning to clear. The sun shone warmly from its low angle on everything that had just been freshly washed clean and which would not dry out before morning at the earliest. So the earth--dunes, beach, bluffs, grasses, even the sky itself--felt thick, fecund, like a fruit heavy with its ripeness. A glimpse away from where the sun was making its slow and sensual descent through the broken clouds and seemingly into the sea took my breath--gasp. A double rainbow had formed over the beach and I watched as it revealed itself in all its fullness and splendor, ultimately pouring it seemed into its invisible pot of gold just beyond my view. This, for the rain. To think, I thought, I had lamented the rain. One very small "price" to pay for this, I thought.

I snapped over a hundred pictures (ah, digital technology!), literally. It just kept coming and kept coming, changing, seducing my eye, me with its endless variations: the changing light, and its play on the landscape, on the water particles still hanging heavy in the air. So now I know: it is rain that makes it so. So...breathtaking.

It is six days since I beheld this heartstopping spectacle, and I have not written. And previous to that, another 10 days or so of silence here. Not for a lack of riches from which to share. More from having been quieted by day after day of living in what seems to me a state of Grace. I recall the adage: "Those who say don't know; those who know don't say." I am challenged at times like these to find words--in life, in writing--when it all feels far beyond words. Again and again these days, a way is closed to me and, after a moment of "Uh oh, now what?" a new way opens that offers more than the one I have been forced to abandon. I suppose the momentariness of my resistance, the brevity of my gulp, accounts for some of that. I think of a leaf or a water bug buffeted to and fro along a rushing river. Bump it hits a rock--that can't feel good!--but then there it is riding free again, wheeee, on the open water. It's been like that for me these days. And how does the song go? Amazing Grace...has brought me safe thus far.

She has indeed.


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