Recently I spent 17 days in Mesa, Arizona at Val Vista, (http://www.cal-am.com/resorts/resorts_details.php?resorts_id=2&search=quick) among hundreds, possibly thousands of Snowbirds – the name given to people of the retired age who fly or drive to live or vacation in the many Southern parts of the world. Sitting around the pool, or riding my borrowed bike to a local Pickleball court to join up with a friendly group of women that I met, or simply bundling up at night for a stroll around the park, (the temperatures do drop) made it a challenge to even think about the vacation coming to an end.
Waking up to the nearly every day sunshine and an overhead blue ceiling produced an abundance of energy, which was needed to accomplish all the bike riding, Pickleball, walking, swimming, exploring and shopping that I and my husband Ross managed to do.
One evening, after a full day of play and entertaining myself and while Ross was still out on some golf course, or rather traveling home from one, the sun was setting and I happened to look outside our rental unit to see the sky change from blue to pink to shadows. Of course I grabbed my camera and captured the moment. I remember a sense of calm which came over me, the belief that all was well with my world, the awe of a day closing and feeling safe, secure and at peace. I nested within myself and as I think about it now, it was as though a warm blanket covered me, protected somehow as I watched darkness fall.
I do love that cozy feeling of the sun setting and my adjustment as evening takes over and I turn lights on but it wasn’t always like that as darkness covered me. I often wrestled with darkness when I was young. As a child, I dreaded the night for that was when I listened to arguments, when shadows revealed scary wind, branches that scratched at the window, the fear of being alone and various behaviors of others that tore off my security. Instead of sleep, too often my mind remained occupied with thoughts of being robbed, of my parents marriage breakup and my splintered family. Under the weight of darkness evil lurked at every corner of my imagination which produced a wild and uncontrolled panic within. I took all those realities and imagined fears with me into my teenage and young adult life, until one by one I was able to look at them in the daylight and dismantle their power.
As a young adult and a new spiritual awareness of God, who became my strength and healer; with family, friends and a long process of support, my unstable childhood receded into the shadows – still there but lacking power to control.
So that one vacation sunset day stands out among others as I took pictures and listened to the hum of days end, as lights blinked on and the smell of barbecues cooked up an evening meal. I absorbed all that my senses could take in, then settled onto a couch to read a book until my man arrived ‘home.’