Sunrise, Sunset, and all the space between…

A lot happens in a day, in a season, in a year, in a lifetime…we have lots of time & space & moments of living between our first breath and our last.  Some of us will have far more days than we expected and some of us will have far fewer, but every day really counts…some days are clearly (no pun whatsoever intended) better than others, and even the hours of the days with events we would rather forget, well, they count too.  Those days, the hard ones, the struggling and the juggling, I’m told are what build character, and fair or not, some people have WAY more of those than seems just.  However, regardless of the number, or the frequency with which some suffer, if we focus on the moments of joy and the days or hours that are splendid, we are all better for it.  At least I believe this to be true, and if it’s not, I still prefer thinking about the nice & happy.  The first sunrise I ever saw, from that first sliver of flaming tangerine glow just peeking a hair above the horizon, until it sits big, round, and magically bright, just above the edge of the earth, happened only a few years ago on a chilly end of summer morning beside a boy I’d been dating a couple of weeks.  We had a first date in July that simply never ended, and I sat that morning, shivering on my beach chair in the stillness of predawn, wondering why people would want to be outside, in the dark, in the chill of September, but then it happened…that little shimmer forming on the water, and I kept my eyes open in wonder and watched, and then laughed at how silly it was, to grow up down the shore, and be “so old”  before I witnessed a sunrise.  It was one of the best mornings and moments of my whole life.  That boy, who I sat and watched surf fishing that morning, well, we are still on that first date that never ended, and today, his birthday, is the 18,264th sunrise of his life…despite the fact it is pouring rain today, is gray and gloomy, and his golf game got canceled, and it’s rather likely none of us will see the sun today at all…

I have spent some time during this relationship thinking about the space between…the space between a day and a night, a week and a month, summer solstice and winter, year upon year…I often wonder, too much some would say, about the “if-onlys” and the “should-haves” and think how so much of both our lives would possibly, well honestly very likely,  have been much better if only we had met when we were teenagers…My heart literally skipped a beat, like I mean I really felt like I was not breathing, that night that July, those many sunrises ago, the first time we met.  Hundreds of thoughts raced through my mind in those first moments, most notably the shocking realization that we had been teenagers at the same small high school at the same time, and had many mutual friends, and yet, never had I ever met him, not even once.  Even in those first minutes and then hours, and days of our first never-ending-date, I wondered how nobody thought to introduce us, how did he not notice or know me, and how did I not notice or know him??!!  I was a cheerleader and he was a drummer, we could have been quite the couple!  It was almost funny, and then sort of sad…the wondering, as we got to know each other, and learned each others stories, how much fun we would have had, how very different both of our lives would have been, could have been, had we only met then, instead of now…but we are not young, we do not have full lives ahead of us, we don’t get to have dreams of ‘how it’s gonna be,’ we don’t get to have visions of a wide open future of possibilities…we have only the time we have left, to try to now live the life we imagined…

I call him the drummer boy, but he is not a boy at all, and actually as of late, not even a drummer…Today he is 50, and plays percussion, and while I have known him for only 1,368  days, I sometimes feel like I have known him all my life, and honestly there are some other days, of which I am not nearly so fond, when I wonder if I know him at all…it’s not a complaint, really just an observation, and it reminds me of a Jane Austen passage; “It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”  This is of course from Sense and Sensibility, and anybody who knows me, knows that when I first meet somebody, I lack both.  

Some couples meet and click and ease, flawlessly, or so it seems, into a relationship.  We, the drummer boy and I, were not that kind of couple.  We met at a time that was confusing and uncertain for both of us…looking back, it’s always so easy to look back and see SO MUCH MORE CLEARLY, we probably should have, after our first few dates, agreed that “now is not the right time to try to start a relationship” for either of us…but we didn’t do that.  We dove in, straight down the rabbit hole, head over feet, despite many indicators and facts that, had we both had our sense and sensibility about us, should have made us stop or at least pause, but what happened, happened, and all we can do is move forward.  Not one of us can change our pasts, we just press on.  I still feel my toes tingle when he smiles at me, and his laugh is still like magic to my ears.  These things matter.  We aren’t young, and maybe we met too late for us to have had the kind of love, experiences, and lifestyle we would have wanted, and wish we could have shared together, but sometimes I feel like I’m still a teenager when I am beside him, or watch him making music.  Like F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”  In every sunset comes the promise of a sunrise.  In every mistake comes the learning.  In every rumination comes the understanding.  In every space between comes the living.

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