Distant Shore

“Distant Shore”  |  Anthony Satori

I was driving up the coast, enjoying the unusual mix of cloud and sun, cool and warm, stillness and motion which constituted the day.  I decided to stop and have lunch.  I parked, grabbed my backpack and walked onto the beach.  I looked out over the water and marveled at the sea and the clouds.  The sky appeared to me almost like the atmosphere of Jupiter, a mysterious swirl of forces and counter-forces.  It looked surreal and other-worldly to my eyes.  The surface of the water seemed dense and heavy, like a choppy lake that you might find somewhere deep in the mountains, far and remote from where I stood.  As I watched, the sun broke through the clouds and began to pour its light against the other side of the bay, creating a brilliant strip of light along the opposing shore.  I stared into the distance, unable to figure out what it was that I was looking at.  Were those buildings?  Were they cliffs of stone?  Were they docks or container ships?  I started to take a picture, but then I delayed, attempting to identify what I was seeing.  I stood for several minutes, watching the sunlight expand and glitter along the opposing coast, immersing myself in the pleasure of the light, the patterns, the sensation of beauty, all the while remaining unable to identify the objects across the bay.  And then it struck me: the sensation that I was feeling was enough.  I didn’t need to be able to identify every detail of what I was seeing before I could be entirely “in the moment.”  I did not need to know everything, before I could savor the beauty of it all.  If fact, this hybrid mix of knowing and not knowing, combined with an appreciation of beauty throughout, was an entirely satisfying experience.  I lifted my camera and took a picture.  It was a picture of the ocean, the sky, the light, the opposing shore.  It was a picture of Jupiter, a distant mountain lake, wind on the water.  But it was also a picture of mystery.  It was a picture of wonder.  It was a picture of how it feels to be fully absorbed in the pleasure of beauty even in the face of not knowing, and to be entirely content in the completeness of that experience.