chasing sunsets.

I guess a part of Dan’s new gig around these parts is that he’s gone a lot more often than he was before. At this point in time I’ve already been a single mom for two weeks this year and LET ME JUST SAY THAT being a single mom is hard. Shout out to those who did/do it everyday. Lemme buy you a beer or five.

Since Dan is gone during the days while I’m home with Dax anyway, it really doesn’t kick in how much I miss him (or how lost and confused I feel without him here) until the evening. As soon as 5PM rolls around, Dax and I are staring at each other, wondering what to do with ourselves. Do we eat more food? Do we roll the ball back and forth again? Do we surrender to mind-numbing media and turn the television on? Do we cry?

Typically those options never really appeal to me, so I usually scoop up that little bundle of chunk and drive over to the beach to watch the sun set. I’ve already blogged about it here but it bears repeating — the sunsets in southwest Florida are stupid beautiful. Better than anywhere else on earth, I promise.

sunset_pelican

Dax could really take it or leave it but for me, watching the sun sink in a morphing, watercolor sky for those fleeting moments is a godsend.

dax_sunset

As I watch the sky change from blue to grey to purple to orange to red and, at last, grand-finale-pink, I forget that I’m still a foreigner. I forget that I’m in exile. I forget that I’m in Nineveh.

Unfortunately this mind-numbing process only takes about fifteen minutes, so once the sun is down it all comes rushing back with the waves. It seems as if the second I get to the beach I’m already thinking, How dare you, sun! Why couldn’t you have taken your time? You just blew through that like it’s something you do everyday! Do you REALLY have somewhere to be right now? Ugh. What next?

Annnnnd cue the lonelies.

The last time I did this (where I took those pictures) my heart was in a different place. In recent weeks, I’ve been really focusing on all the things for which I am grateful in my life — Nineveh included — and so, finally, watching the sun go down wasn’t just another goodbye I had to endure but instead the beginning of a period of rest and reflection.

Sure Dan was gone. And I love having him around so that sucked a little bit. But while I was aware of his absence I was also aware of the feeling of the sand between my toes, the breeze on my face, the LACK OF HUMIDITY AT THAT TIME OF THE DAY, the warmth of my son snuggled up against my chest, the sounds of children splashing in the surf, the sight of the pelicans swooping down in methodical dive patterns…

In a world powered by the Internet and social media, and the idea of who can get things done harder better faster stronger, it can be hard to sit and really appreciate the things that are going on around you at that current time and space. It can be difficult to not want to immediately move on to something new, something fresh, something different.

To chase the next sunset.

But even when the sun sets, there is still a real beauty left. There is real creation and, thankfully, real transformation.

If you find yourself looking around at what you’re currently dealing with and screaming out, Enough already! What’s next? I challenge you to stop. Breathe.

Slow down. Take it all in. Notice the things you feel like you’re too busy to notice.

This is the only life we have.

And oh, how beautiful.

introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — like really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.

sunset

 

susnet_porch

[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.