I passed the entrance to the hostel twice today, once upon arrival and later, after dinner. I’ve improved my turning skills and navigated back each time, through the gate which will close at 11:00 p.m. and along the edge of the sea to the bottom driveway. I sit in the dining room next to a little chalk board extolling me to forswear my laptop, and to enjoy “each other’s company”. That command sits right next to another sign suggesting that I follow the hostel on Facebook.
The kids used to play a computer game on DOS in which the hero crashed his plane on an island and had to navigate through various challenges to save himself. One had to type commands and do so in precise sequence. You could not tell him to walk into a hut without first directing him to open the door. If you said, “Pick up the flashlight” before “walk into the hut”, the program would say, “I don’t see any flashlight here”.
When I read the invitation to partake of the other’s company, I thought, I don’t see anyone here.
The friend whom I met for dinner brought her six-month old puppy, half Dachsund and half something else. She kept the little thing in a scarf which hung low on her body, like a baby sling or a papoose. We exchanged updates on our lives since we last shared a meal, which we strive to do a couple of times a year. I met Kristin three or four years ago on one of my first trips to the coast for medical care. She’s like a slightly younger, cooler version of the woman that I always strove to be. She wears flowy clothing, designs and creates jewelry and fabric art, and writes poetry. She lives in El Granada and has a wrap-around deck overlooking the ocean.
I can’t even hate her for being so cool because of her amazingly kind personality. She’s also forthright and intuitive. Dinner with her leaves me wishing that I lived closer to the coast. But then, she’d probably get tired of me.
The hostel lady moves around the kitchen, retrieving abandoned coffee cups which the users should have washed. A family has taken over the back dorm in which I normally sleep, the one with the good bathroom. But there’s a lady in my room who is an attorney and a writer. She recently returned to California after four years in Maryland, where she exhausted her savings while writing a book. Now she’s come back, to look for work and edit the manuscript. She helped me put the fitted sheet on my bed and complimented my yellow hat. I seem to find angels everywhere I go.
Tomorrow I will walk down to the point to watch the waves break against the rocks. Eventually, I’ll make my way to lunch, to an afternoon coffee, and then, with any sort of luck, to a gorgeous sunset in Half Moon Bay. This afternoon the ocean reached out to wash over me as I stood at the rail on Rockaway Beach. Her calmness seeped into my soul. A vague euphoria lingered long after my clothing dried.
It’s the first day of the seventy-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It ebbs not back like the sea.
I am the pool of blue
That worships the vivid sky;
My hopes were heaven-high,
They are all fulfilled in you.
I am the pool of gold
When sunset burns and dies, —
You are my deepening skies,
Give me your stars to hold.
— Sara Teasdale