an angel on the beach
catherine, canon digital rebel xt
I met this beautiful old woman this past Friday when taking my camera to the beach. I heard there were big swells. The news told us that the surf was high and dangerous. I just had to see it. By the time I got there, it was a bit more calm than I'd hoped for. As I was crouching near the cliffs, trying to capture the lovely swells, this woman walked up to me and asked..."What is so special about your camera?"
It startled me because I was totally in a zone. When I stood up to face her, I saw a pure gentleness and curiosity in her eyes and immediately felt safe to share with her. We talked a bit about my camera, the lens and its functions. She was a sponge and had this very youthful excitement about it all. She charmed me. We ended up sitting on a bench for over an hour. It started with her telling me she had lived near these waters for 60 plus years. She talked about the various developments around the beach that have changed through the years. How her $11,000 home is now worth over a million. That she walks these neighborhoods every day and meets someone new each time. She loves people. They fascinate her. Called them the "brass rings of life". She asked me all about my life, my marriage, my career. She was in her mid eighties and was sharper than most her age. Her wisdom spilled so easily from her, so comfortably. She shared that she knows many wealthy people, some famous that live in the area. With this information, she also shared that the more money they had, the more unhappy they were. Her point was that money is not true happiness. That the people that own these gigantic mansions by the water are never in them because they're working too hard to appreciate them.
This comforted me. Perhaps she was indirectly reaffirming that she was proud that I made the decision to leave a larger income in the corporate world to start a business here at home. Whatever it was, it felt good. I don't even know this woman and for some reason her opinion of me mattered. Almost as if she was a grandmother figure.
I took a few portraits of her and she made me promise to send her some prints.
As we said our goodbyes, she stood before me and stroked her hands down my arms, then cupped both of her hands around my face. She said that I should tell my husband that she thinks he is the smartest man in the world for knowing what he had in me. She kissed both of my cheeks and told me I was special. A tear formed in my eye and I hugged her, thanking her for being such a gift.
I watched her walk up a steep hill towards her house. My heart was filled with warmth. I had chills. I stood and watched her until she vanished around the corner. Tears fell down my cheeks. Was she an angel sent to bless me with affirmations?
As I walked back to my car, I felt grateful that she never once asked me if my husband and I had children. It is almost as if she knew and wanted to help me focus on my other blessings. My marriage, my career, my relationships.
She left me with her address. I will send her a sweet little package soon. Including a few portraits of her beautiful gracefully aging face.