I was lucky enough to go on a quick family vacation over the New Year. In fact, we decided to drive down to Seattle and fly out on a red-eye to Ft. Lauderdale over New Year’s Eve.
After a chaotic, loud and sleepless flight we landed in Florida around 5:30am. Our concierge at the hotel we were booked in to for that day (check in is 3pm) was kind enough to find us a room we could take for another day, rather than just hold our luggage until check in. An amazing feat on New Year’s Day! By the time we got up to the room it was after 6am and the family decided to take a nap.
Looking out at the ocean from our room, I was wired for sound. I knew I couldn’t sleep just yet, and my husband made the comment that the sky was changing colour and soon the sun would be coming up. Our vantage point from the room gave us a spectacular view, but not one of the sun about to rise so I decided to venture down to the beach to check it out. At first I tried to make it a family outing, but no one shared my enthusiasm for walking on to a deserted beach in the slight darkness of early morning; it would be a solo adventure. Not being a morning person unless I’m coerced by work, I realized I had never watched the sun actually rise before. Or if I had, I don’t recall (probably a few tequila shots too many to remember).
I walked for a bit, head tilted back like the perfect tourist, to see how the skies were flooded with that trademark pink that southern Florida is so famous for. I couldn’t help but take it all in with big, deep, silent breaths. I saw maybe six other people scattered about the long, white beach and all I could hear was the echo of the waves rolling into each other in a slow rhythm only the sea knew. The odd seagull swooped in and squealed, but other than that it was silent. Those of us on the beach, together yet alone in our solitude, sharing the experience of Mother Nature’s early show.
I am not a quiet person. Never have been, and after years of attempting to change that, realize I probably never will be. But this time I had no urge to be social, whether in real life or via my phone. I did not feel an urge to talk to anyone. I just stood, facing the horizon ready to salute the giant orange sun as she began he glorious ascent.
In that silence I watched the pink glow slowly take over the blanket of night; the beach slowly losing its rich, dark hues as its spotlight got brighter. The ocean was the only source of sound and it was also changing hues as the not quite-full moon left behind a path for the sun to rise; the inky blues changing to slivers of silver and turquoise with shimmering highlights of that perfect pink.
I was sitting on a beach facing the Atlantic ocean on the morning of the first day of a brand new year, about to witness the sun rising like a queen to reign over the coming day. In silence. Perfect, profound silence.
This small wrinkle of time in my life, this hour or more of perfection that I stumbled upon by accidental sleep-deprived choice, will remain the best moment of the entire vacation, and one I will not soon forget.