In the midst of a pandemic I get my first book contract and let the cognitive dissonance settle in. I am elated! It is meaningless! By the time the book is published, will the words I’ve written even matter? In a world full of sickness and chaos, is art even relevant?
My husband and I go away to celebrate our 33rd anniversary. He is reluctant in these times, but I’ve found us a private spot on Cape Cod, we pack a bag, some food, and we go. On the drive down I am describing the adorable guest house I have secured for us. I am happy to escape the everydayness of our lives, the news, the impertinence of my writing. It is called the Sweetest Little Suite, I tell him.
It has probably been renamed The Covid Cabin, he quips.
Don’t make me laugh, I say. There is nowhere to pee.
I know the state of the country, the world for God’s sake, is not funny right now. It is dark and uncertain, but we need to laugh when we can because the crying will come too, if not for ourselves, for others.
It is freakishly warm for the middle of November, but we don’t see anyone else at the seashore except for maybe a few people sitting so far down the beach they are like large grains of sand, their movement almost imperceptible.
It starts off as a dare, me tempting my husband to jump into the crashing waves, and it ends with both of us running into the ocean, going under. He disappears first and when he pops up he is shouting for me to hurry before the next wave drags me violently across the sand. Shrieking, I dive in, my timing more a reflex of panic than any kind of strategy.
When you’ve been married this long, there aren’t many firsts you haven’t met; first home, first child, first move, job loss, illness. We’ve had them all. But this- today- swimming in the ocean in the middle of fall- for our November anniversary- this is a new first.
I emerge from the cold, invigorated. The sun warms my skin as it creates glitter across the water. The reflection is spectacular; there is so much light. I am insignificant, but at the same time connected to the brilliance of God’s creativity.
Fully present, mind and body in harmony, I take it all in. I see and feel the ocean, the world, as the most amazing work of art.
In this moment, the art is everything.