“From Sea to Shining Sea”

There’s a lightness in my step this morning despite my worries. For the first time in a long while, I’m wearing sneakers, not boots, and yes, it makes a difference. Padding into our “third place” for the morning brew, my driver daughter and I skipped (just a little bit) as we left the shop and headed into our days. As if on cue, the early train pulled into the station; I could run and make it. Happy Monday!

With breakfast in hand as we crossed Salem Harbor, I was captured by a silver ribbon of light gleaming across the water and out to sea. That refrain, “from sea to shining sea” sprung to mind before I could stop it, and for this Midwestern girl it’s automatic to reach into my mind and look west, across the plains toward the Continental Divide. See the network of rivers that drains from one “sea” to the other?

Some vistas shear themselves into our minds. Often they are fleeting views, like this one, and in a moment they vanish to become instead a train full of regular folks doing regular things. I wonder at the full life we all carry inside ourselves, however. Most of us have friends and family we hold very dear. We’re connected to colleagues, to neighbors, in some ways, to people around us we don’t even know. Sometimes it’s too much, and I live for a few days as a walking veil of tears. The pressure builds behind lids too thin to contain it. Whether from gratitude, or fear of loss; from what I call “grief practiced” but none-the-less real, the tears leak out at the most inconvenient times. Words, life, gratitude, sorrow for those in pain, for all animals and lands in distress, for grief to come and all grief past; all of it mounds up behind the eyes of the face, the eyes of the soul. I long to weep from “sea to shining sea,” yet the day pulls me on and I must follow, for now.

So I write.  My coach mates may think my eyes moist from squinting upon this water (true) or from choking on my morning brew (also true) if they notice me at all (most don’t). But I know, and now you do too, that though I might begin today heavy laden, longing for and needing that “good cry” as all mothers seem to say, it will suffice to have written it down and dabbed at the eyes. We would not weep if we did not love. Were we not to love, we wouldn’t live.

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