Living and Dying Every Day

The New Dawn Framed ©Lynne Buchanan
All Rights Reserved, Watermarked by Digimarc

Sun Burning Away What Was ©Lynne Buchanan
All Rights Reserved, Watermarked by Digimarc

Just before I left North Carolina, I received a message from a friend asking how I am as I have been dealing with some health issues the severity of which is presently unknown.   For some reason, I could not answer right away even though I am feeling great.  Then it came to me in the middle of the night: I am living and I am dying just like always, only some days it is a little more of one than the other...

One of the most poignant moments on my family trip to North Carolina that I just returned from was watching the sunrise with my daughter's wonderful boyfriend who recently enlisted in the Navy to be a chef on a submarine.  Later this week, I will be taking my daughter to NYC where she will be attending Barnard.  The whole trip was very bittersweet–spending this incredibly special time together forming even closer bonds and knowing our time together in such close physical proximity was nearing the end.  At times I was so happy to be with my family connecting in nature and playing games together, and other times sadness crept in.  I could tell the same thing was happening with Adam.  My daughter, as always, seemed brave and ready to cross the threshold into her new life.  She was likely entertaining all the exciting possibilities before her, and I know there are many.

As Adam and I sat on this rocky outcropping known as Sunrise Rock waiting for the sun to rise we were mostly silent.  At first, we were just waiting to see what would happen.  It was dark when we got there and we didn't know precisely what the sun would reveal.  The colors were subtle and there were some nice clouds on the horizon.  It looked like it would be a safe and gentle sunrise, one that made me think of possibilities and the joy of being alive.  In soft voices we commented how beautiful it was and how glad we were to be there.  Then, just as the sun was about to break over the horizon, bigger clouds started to collect.  I quickly switched to my 80-400 lens from my wider tilt and shift.  The drama was clearly the imminent sun and what was closest to it.  Looking through my lens, it felt like a fiery orange ball was about to eat up everything in its wake.  The miniature trees on the horizon were electrified.  The sky became swirls of oozing lava.  It took my breath away.  Before the new day could begin, before I and my daughter and her boyfriend can move into the new chapters our life, so much of what we have known must be destroyed.  Otherwise, there will be no canvas for us to paint new pictures of how we will live next.  It was exciting but in a way terrifying to watch.  We don't get to choose what will be burned away and what stays.  This cycle of life is more powerful than any of us individually.  Yet, it is still beautiful to watch even though saying good-bye is often heart-wrenching.

After the sun rose, more and more clouds formed and Adam and I made our way to the car to go to the local coffee shop.  By the time we left, the skies had opened up and it rained for hours.  I remembered the native American chant I learned about the gifts of the elements and the line "Let the beauty of the rain wash away your pain." I also thought how rain at weddings is supposed to bring good luck and hoped this was also the case for all new beginnings.  The rain was indeed purifying for me.  It washed away all but the enduring love I have for my family and everyone they share their love with.