I remember this day. The autumn wind, the sight of kite surfers in the distance, and the joy of discovering a place you've never been before. We were walking along the wharf when I heard a group of little kids call from the water, "Miss, come swim with us." I had to smile because this sight is such a familiar childhood memory. A small seaside town, school-aged children in T-shirts and shorts taking turns diving from the pier. Such simple pleasures.
October turned out to be the month when really bad things happened to people close to me. Accidents, illness, one unfortunate news after another. I watch a friend tie a scarf around her head (having lost all of her hair from chemotherapy), most days she goes about her life in her usual energetic way and some days she's drained and weary. And yet, she still manages to come to work, give us big hugs, and crack the funniest jokes. I look at her and I feel so very proud and sad at the same time.
Two weeks ago, I was on my way to buy dinner when I saw a small woman pushing a stroller in front of me. It was dark and she was walking very fast so I couldn't see her clearly. All I know was that the stroller was filled with empty bottles and cans. She stopped by a recycle bin in front of a streetlight and I saw that she was carrying a baby in a wraparound sling on her back. As soon as she heard my footsteps, she stopped rummaging through the bin and walked away, but not before I glimpsed the look of determination on her face. I watched her disappear around the corner, the sound of bottles hitting each other trailing behind her, and I suddenly felt like crying.
There's so much goodness and beauty in this world and yet there's also so much suffering. And sometimes its very hard to reconcile these two. But we try and do the best we can. And perhaps, just the fact that we tried, is enough.
Photo taken in Bodega Bay, via iPhone.