Monday, July 9, 2012

The Sea

Beauty soothes the soul. I sit watching the sun's last rays hitting the sky behind Enoshima, listening to the surf wash ashore. There are contrails in the sky overhead. It all makes my sad tired soul feel hopeful again.

The final packout is done. We are officially a pile of boxes and in transition. Our whole life is wrapped up in tape!

As I was packing up the car, school children filed past me and stopped. They asked me about leaving for America, in Japanese. I started to reply but tears popped into my eyes. I'm out of time. There are no more parties and fun, just a few hugs, sniffled back tears, and once again into the unknown. I waved the children off with a muffled "bye bye."

Those long awaited orders that allowed us to plan our leave taking also freed me to enjoy my last weeks and months in Japan.

Driving a car full of garbage toward the bulk dumpster on base, I found myself teary yet again. The toll road dipped and then crested over top of a small hill, yielding a brief view of the bay with the ships in harbor. Those ships and submarines with their colors flapping in the breeze made me think of the changes before us far away from military bases and life. I may dread parts of it, but I will miss some of it-- the unique experiences, time abroad, and friendships worldwide.

The moves are the sweat, the pain, the toil of military life.

Isak Dinesen said, "The cure for anything is salt water -- sweat, tears, or the sea." From where I am, laying at the edge of the sea in Japan, drenched in filth and sweat from house cleaning, my face layered with dried tears from a few more goodbyes, I'd venture she has a point. Maybe all of these tears mean I care, I do. Maybe they will make room for new things, I hope so. So why the ships? In the Navy, I've always lived near the water. In Ohio, I will miss the sea.

In Japan, I will miss my kind, generous, and thoughtful friends who let me in, who played with me, who taught me new things, who made me laugh, who helped me, who steadied me, who held me when I cried, who showed up, and who let me belong even if I looked and acted a bit different.

Moving is not the end of the world, but it is wearisome. Troubles wider and deeper grip some of my friends. To them, to you, I encourage you to find some beauty and rest in it. It won't cure you, but it will help what ails you. Find a sunset. Listen to the sound of water. Look for a flower. Know that I'm thinking of you. Read a poem. Look for beauty, it wants to be noticed, and you will be all the better for noticing it.

"But could a dream rise up through onion fumes
… And yesterday's garbage ripening in the hall,
Fight to sing an aria down these halls,

…And would we let it in … and keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?"
Gwendolyn Brooks