The light casts shadows on the wall as the sun filtered through the trees outside the window. I let my eyes adjust, as thoughts of the day ahead began to surface.

The wooden pelican on the sill across the room seemed to be alive, whispering for me to rise from the warmth of the bed. It looked as though I hadn’t moved in the night. There had been no tossing or turning with anxious dreams. I was rested, breathing in the calm that came with the fading of the darkness. I rose without a sound and walked down the stairs toward a new day.

My shoes were waiting just outside the front door I’ve been opening and closing for nearly two decades of summers. The door to a home in a quiet little coastal town that I like to think loves me as much as I love it. I shook the sand from the soles, smiling as the small pile of sand dollars and heart rocks caught my eye. Just 24 hours earlier, the same shoes that were filled with sand had carried me south, along the coastline, where shells, seagulls and surf greeted me in abundance. The waves had swirled, moving with me as I walked near the line that begged to be crossed in the game of tag I played with the water.

Slipping on the pair of shoes, I closed the door behind me, making my way down the quiet street, and then along the path, turning toward the boardwalk ramp. The dune grass moved gently in the breeze, the sound of crashing waves gaining momentum with each step I took. Stepping into the sand, I went north. There were very few people on the shore, but the surfers and dory boats spotted the sea as the sun rose into the sky. Reaching the infamous dune hill of Pacific City, I started the climb, and then headed west to the trail less traveled, winding my way along the rock bluff, through the coastal trees and wildflowers.

I’m not sure how long the bald eagle had been there, but he hadn’t noticed my arrival to the rocky ledge above him. I quietly sat down, watching him in awe, as the giant fish under his talons was devoured. The seagulls kept their distance, watching him with me. He was consuming exactly what he needed for the day, to sustain his efforts and nourish his soul. The sun sparkled on the pools of water around him, and I couldn’t help but hope my climb to the top of the bluff was feeding me in the same way. The quiet, the sound of the waves hitting the rocks, and the sunlight spilling down around me, reminded me to stay in the present, not worrying about yesterday or even tomorrow.

What we consume feeds our minds, souls, and even our hearts, and in the year of 2020, it seems that we have become consumers of opinions, stances, beliefs, and even fear. We wonder who to trust and what to believe, finding it easy to fight for what we believe one minute, but then questioning with uncertainty that which we stood firm on just hours earlier. Watching that beautiful bird feast, I thought about the places and spaces I have been filling my mind with.

What have I been looking for nourishment in? Do I fill my mind with the right things each day to sustain the challenges I face?

After a few more minutes, the eagle flew south, away from me. I, too, left the bluff, content and ready to tackle the day, walking back toward the home and people who needed my best. I don’t think that majestic bird was worried about tomorrow, next week, or even next month. He was soaking up the light, filling his body with good things, fighting off the distractions, and trusting that he had just enough to get through the day.

May we all do the same, as we find ourselves soaring, climbing and perhaps even stomping through uncharted places and spaces during the days, months, and even school years ahead.

Who knows, it may be that this journey takes us to places where we needed to be all along.

———

Lindsay Murdock lives and teaches in Echo.

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