Sunday, May 6

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.


Blogger Karen Travels said...

That is so beautiful!

Thank you for sharing!

Hugs, Karen

May 6, 2007 at 3:26:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An angel, in the form of a wise, gentle soul. So lovely. And so beautifully presented when you needed it most. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. It has filled my heart with joy.

May 6, 2007 at 3:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Angela Marie said...

That is so nice... beautiful how that happens.

May 6, 2007 at 4:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger bee said...

i think she was an angel. oh, boho...i'm glad she reassured something in you. what a special happening.


May 6, 2007 at 4:16:00 PM PDT  
Blogger the brady girls said...

that truly is an affirmation to what an amazing person you are and that you are in the perfect place right now to be open to those experiences! xoxo

May 6, 2007 at 4:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Georgia said...

Isn't it amazing when someone like that walks into your life? I love that God places those people in our paths right when we need them.

Love you!


May 6, 2007 at 4:45:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love this. i love connections like that. i love reading your words. reading your blog puts me at ease. thank you for always being so honest and real.


May 6, 2007 at 5:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Intrepidflame said...

Great post. The picture is lovely.It's amazing what life offers us when we face it wide open. I am sure she was affected by your encounter as well...

May 6, 2007 at 5:12:00 PM PDT  
Blogger madelyn said...

She has startling blue eyes and
apple-rosy cheeks probably from
smiling so much:)

May 6, 2007 at 7:08:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

I truly believe you met this woman for a reason. I think she was an angel walking. I read this post with tears in my eyes.

May 6, 2007 at 7:44:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Robin said...

It is so nice to hear of two people meeting and connecting. How wonderful that this woman shared her wisdom and zest for life with you - I am sure you gave her just as much as you received!

May 6, 2007 at 8:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Kristine said...

Sounds like an amazing experience. What a blessing!

May 6, 2007 at 8:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rubyslippers said...

how sweet! she does seem like an angel sent to you! such wisdom and joy in her eyes. great photo.

May 6, 2007 at 9:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger liz elayne lamoreux said...

you have described the true gift of connection. beautiful. thank you for sharing your story tonight...

May 6, 2007 at 11:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger jenica said...

this was why you had to escape to the beach this week. to know that you're of great worth. what an angel, i'm so glad that she didn't just stay quiet!

May 7, 2007 at 12:42:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was something about you - your energy, your aura, whatever you want to call it - that made her approach you. To my mind, you also are an angel.

May 7, 2007 at 12:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Susannah Conway said...

oh, this is magical! and i LOVE your portrait of her. there are so many blessings in your life, love xxo

May 7, 2007 at 3:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Her photograph was the first thing I saw when your page opened on the computer and I said "Wow" out loud. Now, having read your story, I'm saying it again and again. Thank you for sharing this.

May 7, 2007 at 4:36:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

This made me cry. A real angel!!

May 7, 2007 at 5:06:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That was powerful. When you say you were in a 'zone' and she came out of nowhere, asking you just the right questions.. I truly believe - she was your angel.
This was a beautiful experience - thanks for sharing it.

May 7, 2007 at 5:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Scarlett said...

That totally made me cry too! I love it when things like that happen, I believe in people coming into your life for a reason. That was a wonderful experience for you.


May 7, 2007 at 6:13:00 AM PDT  
Blogger kristen said...

I love how the universe brings us angels and signs when we need it most. I love the wisdom of older people and I love her gorgeous beauty. I imagine you felt so much peace from her presence and generous spirit. How wonderful.

May 7, 2007 at 8:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Michelle (a.k.a. la vie en rose) said...

a truly divine encounter...and you captured her beauty magnificently!

May 7, 2007 at 9:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Regina said...

How blessed you were to meet her... an angel indeed. I love old people... they have so much wisdom...

May 7, 2007 at 9:44:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Stacy said...

What a beautiful story in a time when perhaps you needed it most. I am sure you were an angel to her as well.

You are truly blessed. xoxo

May 7, 2007 at 10:02:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being here and sharing. You have been a great source of inspiration to me lately and you bring light into my dark hours.
I am utterly grateful and humbled.

May 7, 2007 at 11:32:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful encounter, just when you needed peace. For that alone, she was an absolute angel.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend honey.


May 7, 2007 at 11:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Indie Mama said...

Fantastic portrait! Isn't it amazing when the universe gives such an unexpected gift?

May 7, 2007 at 12:09:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mindy said...

so touching..brought a lump to my throat. an angel indeed. ox, mindy

May 7, 2007 at 12:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Wanda said...

You indeed met an angel...not many people have captured an angel on film....she is special, and so are you Denise.

May 7, 2007 at 12:41:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story brought tears to my eyes.


May 7, 2007 at 2:54:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life gives you exactly what you need. Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

May 7, 2007 at 2:54:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a sweet story, she sure is divine...


May 7, 2007 at 4:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lucia said...

That's so lovely

May 8, 2007 at 5:23:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Louise said...

Found your blog randomly..
That is such an amazingly beautiful story, I could picture it completely and it made me tear up!! WOW what a moment! What a blessing to hear those affirmations!!
Thanks for sharing that great story!!

May 8, 2007 at 5:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger daisies said...

she does look like an angel ~ what a beautiful story : )

May 8, 2007 at 9:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger jennie said...

I love those moments. It's the kind that change the way you look at life, forever. It gives me chills!

May 8, 2007 at 11:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love this. How fascinating. What a gift to you she was.


May 8, 2007 at 4:28:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Fran said...

How totally cool and amazing. I like that saying " People are the brass rings of life." She is so right. That would make a great card.

May 8, 2007 at 7:09:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WoW! You have the coolest things happen to you...or maybe you just create your experiences by being amazing you.
xoxoxo p

May 8, 2007 at 9:28:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what an awesome experience. i love old people. i truly do. i don't have the opportunity to speak with them often. and this woman, your new friend, is gorgeous. one look at her face and you can sense the goodness emanating from her. what a lovely spirit. and it's so perfect that you got to meet her. i'm so envious! you have the best experiences! thanks for sharing. it made my day.

May 9, 2007 at 12:47:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just had to read this story again. it's divine. xo

May 9, 2007 at 2:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

What a beautiful picture darling.

You captured the spirit you speak of perectly and so artistically.

I could almost see her talking to you-feel her hands. You are a pure joy and talent-my sunshine.

Love and miss you

May 9, 2007 at 6:52:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Kristin said...

I LOVE that your last post was directed towards "finding yourself again" and with the help of this fabulous aged woman you were able to do so! I love when life works in mysterious ways like this! The lines around her mouth indicate to me that she probably spent a good part of her life enjoying it and smiling/laughing at every little bit! A good lesson for us all!

Embrace life with arms wide open an a smile as far as the eye can see!

May 9, 2007 at 8:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lady Prism said...

what a tender moving story of a day in your life...

May 10, 2007 at 2:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lina said...

This story touched me so much...i know how you feel about that dreaded question. I always wait for the "do you have children" and am hugely relieved when it doesnt come...i think she was an angel..what a blessing.

May 15, 2007 at 1:33:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the memories of your meeting with this woman has brought me to tears...so was most positively sent to you...

June 30, 2007 at 8:26:00 PM PDT  

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