It was 6:30 am when the early light hit my eyes and I woke to another dog day of summer destined to reach 100 degrees. Challenging weather provides a wonderful opportunity to see how cranky the mind can be. Rather than listening to its complaints, I got up, threw on my bathing suit, and drove to the beach to meet my mermaid sisters for an early morning dip.
The water was cold, frigid really, and in no time my legs and toes were numb. Breathing steady and deep, I looked around at the women who have added so much joy to my life this past year. Their warmth, outrageous humor, and kind gestures have nourished my belief in our ability to find and cultivate good friendships at any stage of life.
Gathered together, hands perched in prayer pose above the water to keep our fingers warm, we turned to the sun as our friend Libby maintained a Sunday ritual by reading Mary Oliver’s poem, Why I Wake Early.
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
A collective breath and a new beginning. Yes, it’s quite a way to start the day. Invigorated by overcoming a mental challenge, washed clean by water and light, loved by kindred spirits, and laughing at conversations meant only for mermaid ears.
Every time I dip with these women, I’m reminded that beyond our comfort zone lies the aliveness we so desperately seek.
May life be joyful and easy wherever you find yourself today.
© Copyright 1999-2023 Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950, www.cherylrichardson.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Dear Cheryl as a child you couldn't tell me MERMAIDS DIDN'T exist, they just did! Now after your post, I'm more than ever at this place. My Dad a long distance swimmer and my own feel for the water since before memory is a bit the reason, but your post puts it into words and I thank you!