When the path you’re on is not the right one…

This morning I decided to go to the beach (with apologies to my northern friends).  I drove to Matheson Hammock and parked my car at the entrance to the path that leads through the mangroves and eventually to the bay. I ignored the sign. The last time I had come the same sign was up and the way was clear until I got close to the end and could come out on an alternate path. 20150222_125548[1]As I walked I ignored other signs, not written like the first one  but certainly signs of high water. The water was flowing through the mangroves and the path was wet.  Coming to a low point it became obvious that unless I wanted to get very wet I was on the wrong path. I thought about taking off my shoes and wading through but the water isn’t particularly clean and I didn’t want to risk stepping on anything sharp (or icky).20150222_110037[1]So I turned around and headed back. I tried warning another person headed toward the underwater path but he had earbuds on and didn’t hear me. I found another narrow path that led back to the road and kept walking toward the beach. It wasn’t as pleasant as the path had been. There were cars and not as much shade. I stopped and took a picture of this amazing spider that was eating a beetle for breakfast.

Beetle for breakfastBeetle for breakfast

When I got closer to the water a woman asked me to take a picture of her and her family, and I asked if I could take a picture of her daughter’s awesome shirt.

Girls Never Give Up Ever!
Girls Never Give Up

When I got to the ocean I swam a little. Even though it’s much warmer here than where I grew up it IS February and we just had a little cold snap. I hung out on the beach for a while and was just getting ready to leave when I saw some kids dressed in red caps and gowns. The colors looked so wonderful together that I walked over and took a picture. I started talking to one of the grandmothers who was with the group. They were 5th graders and were having their graduation picture taken (better now than in May when it’s too hot and muggy to be at the beach). It turns out one of the students had been in my class 6 years ago. His parents suggested that maybe I would want to look for a job at his school.  I smiled and thanked them but said I’m taking a break from teaching. It doesn’t feel like my right path anymore.

Graduates on the beach
Graduates on the beach

When I left my job I had already ignored the signs for a while. When it came time to turn back I didn’t know where that would lead me and I still don’t. The path I’m on right now isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes the traffic moves too fast. But I think it’s taking me where I need to go and I’m meeting some amazing people and having wonderful experiences along the way.

The beach at Matheson Hammock
The beach at Matheson Hammock

I hope your path is taking you where you want to go. If it isn’t, maybe it’s time to find another…

A Piece of Quiet

When my son was five he once told me “All I need is some piece of quiet.” We smiled and wrote down his “mistake” in a notebook that we’ve kept to remind us of the funny things he’s said over the years. Today I was contemplating the need for peace and quiet while I was at the park.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves urges us toward the regular experience of solitude. “Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily.”  I’ve been seeking out solitude on a daily basis and finding it so much easier now that I’ve left my job.  But even in my solitude I could hear the sounds of others… airplanes crossing the sky, the recycling truck picking up the bins and putting them back down, even the sound of my son’s P.E. coach drifting on a public address system from his school’s field day events. The wind blew and there were sounds of palm fronds rattling, wind chimes tinkling, the constant buzz and hum of the city in the background.

I realize that true silence is nearly impossible to find. I realize that true solitude is also nearly impossible. We’re filled with the sounds of others even at our most alone. Rewinding old conversations, composing future blog posts, singing snatches of a song that plays in our head sometimes for days… So my goal is not complete silence, nor complete solitude. Just a piece of quiet.

I hope you find time for a piece of quiet today too.