For the almost two years that Paul, Amira and I lived in Portland, we attended the Unity of Portland church. We participated the White Stone Ceremony, both years, during the holiday season. The ceremony involved receiving a small rectangular white stone. By the end of the ceremony, after a message from the pastor and time for meditation… we were to think of one word to write on our stone. That word would play the part of map and guide for us into the new year.
I love the ceremony. The first year, the word that came to mind… that I received… was ‘wild’. And ‘Jael’ was the word/name I received the second year.
Since moving back to Southern California, we have sporadically attended another Unity church. We haven’t been in months. This holiday season, I found myself missing the White Stone Ceremony and have been thinking on what my word could be for 2015.
It came to me a few days before New Year’s. My word, this year, is ‘adventurous’. I don’t have a white stone to write it on – but I will find some way to create a physical, visual reminder for myself.
New Year’s Day arrived and I was talking with Amira – telling her that she needed to take Chibi on a walk. It’s a twice daily task that needs to be done. It’s not always something that Amira (or I) want to take time to do.
As we were getting ourselves pulled together for the neighborhood walk… my new 2015 word came to mind. Adventurous. Right then, I said: “Amira, should we go to the ocean for our walk instead of through the neighborhood?” Her face brightened… and the tedious chore suddenly turned into something else.
Assuming it was going to be, despite the clear skies and sun, windy and cold… I bundled us up. To my surprise, when we arrived, it was cool but certainly not cold. It was a perfect New Year’s Day temperature. We took off a few of the extra layers we had come prepared with and headed toward the water. Chibi kept her sweater on and seemed happy to have it.
Quite of a few of our Cardiff/Encinitas neighbors had the same idea. The beach was milling with activity. It wasn’t so full as to be bothersome though. It was a happy, casual bustle. Looking at some of the groups, I could tell some families were still together for their holiday reunions and celebrations.
Since coming to the beach was a result of my answering my word’s invitation, I obviously didn’t plan the timing. It was utter luck that the tide was out, although it was quietly and steadily coming back in. Even so, we had plenty of time to explore the tide pools.
It really didn’t take much effort, at all, to create this tiny, two-hour adventure. And still… it was an adventure. Exploring, peering, spying and finding creatures normally hidden from our eyes was wonderful fun for us.
The sun’s clear bright light showed off the gorgeous colors of the plant and sea life.
There was a feeling of newness. Maybe brought on by the fact that it was January 1st, or by the fact that I had (in a minor way) stepped out of my norms to take our walk along the shore… everything in me felt buoyant.
After enjoying a long, luxurious spell of looking at what the sea had pulled back to show us… it began to shows definite signs of wanting her privacy again. We gave the tidepools back to the sea, respectfully and wisely, and retreated to the sandy shore.
It took all my parental will power to keep us out of the surf. We were ill-prepared (no towels) and while warmer than I expected, it was still chilly out. Cold surf plus cool breezes and no towels… my wiser self one won out. Both Amira and my heart’s desires did feel a little cheated though.
We headed south, walking for about a mile and a half. On our walk, we noticed what a smile magnet Chibi is. She has a happy face and seems to bring that out in others. Dogs can be such marvelous little ambassadors. People walked by us, who I probably wouldn’t have made eye contact or connection with otherwise, their eyes sparkled and smiles shined as we connected with a shared hello or “Happy New Year!” wishes.
I can safely say that every time I go to the beach with my camera, I try to take a photo that captures the golden shimmer in the sand. It’s frustrating because the photos never do it justice. I will still keep on trying.
This seagull had color gradient perfection in his feathers.
This pelican was adventuring on his own. I love watching them fly in groups overhead. Today though, it was just him. He landed in the surf close to the shore’s edge.
Apparently interested in adventures of his own, he waded out deeper into the surf and bobbed up and over the incoming waves. We left before he tired of surfing.
I’m still a little gobsmacked that Christmas is over already and we are plowing away into January. A New Year and the beginning of new adventures awaits. Thinking about our New Year’s Day mini-adventure makes my heart happy and I’m looking forward to 2015′s journey.
Happy New Year friends! Wishing you a year filled with adventure, beauty, joy and growth! Thanks for walking it with me.