Black Sage

LATE IN THE AFTERNOON with nothing left to do, I took off without a phone to climb the nearby bluffs that overlook the vast Pacific Ocean.

Don’t think so much, just go — my body drove me out the door and into the waning light.

I began my ascent, then spun around to climb backwards for an added challenge and a change of perspective. The few others walking by would give me a strange look, perhaps a laugh, while I acted as if everything was normal.


I’m glad to provide the unusual spark of somebody’s day.

I came across a cacti garden I’ve never noticed before; the sun drifted low and became imperceptible behind the thick layer of evening clouds, opaque, full, on the fringe of rain.

My body savored each step. But it’s how these outings enhance the mind and nourish the soul that make them so vital to our overall well-being.

Each step provided clarity — this is all that matters; living, while we may.

Earlier in the day, my mom told me that a family friend had overdosed and passed away.

I still don’t quite know what to make of it.

On my way up the hill, I drew off to the side of the road. I closed my eyes. I thanked the veiled stars for every breath, because although I couldn’t see them, I knew they were there.

There, perennial, part of our reality here on Earth, yet materially no longer around. No longer around. To take place in a simple walk.

To smell the sage blowing in the wind off the tip of the bluff.

To pass others walking by and share a hello, regardless of if I feel like it because when another soul hears the word, they’re recognized. And so am I. I try to smile and show I care.

To hear an owl hoot as the day turns to night, as I was lucky enough to do without being plugged into the headphones I usually don.

I felt present without my phone, grappling with the thoughts in my head. Out on the ocean’s horizon, a beam of light broke through the clouds and shone down on the slate-grey water like a star that burns with the ferocity of the sun, watching over us from the farthest point we can possibly conceive of, and then further. Way further. Still, it’s found its way here.

Further by billions of miles in a reality where space and time aren’t things, matter is nothing, nothing matters, thus everything does.

But us? We may recognize what we have. Because here things do matter, or maybe they should. But perhaps not what usually matters — like why we don’t feel adequate; but what doesn’t, like how we are more than adequate, perfectly imperfect, on the road to better, on the road to everlasting joy when we find it in ourselves.

That’s what may; perhaps that’s what matters out there in the depths of space, a light that blinks without our knowing, a joyful light.

A moment like this matters more than anything else. I was nothing but a drifting heart amongst a few other human beings searching for something to provide meaning.

Through a walk, through movement, movement of the body and thus movement of the mind, to escape or find, remember or forget.

I sauntered through the garden, enveloped by the sweet scent of sage and dusty pines that protrude into the boundless sky like craggy spires connecting Earth to something more.

I came across Black Sage with its evergreen, fuzzy leaves. I like the name, as sage is both the fragrant, ubiquitous plant of the California Coast able to withstand the tests of time, and also a wise soul, one who’s lived longer than their physical time on Earth.

It took me a moment to notice the subtle blue flowers. A hint of color in a colorless night, food for birds and butterflies; these tiny blue flowers make the world go ‘round.

I stood there for a while until the sky became dark, taking in the earthy smell and the gentle rustling sound of the wind blowing through the trees.

Who knows what we’re really doing here?

Not the ancient sages nor modern humans. What if we’ve got it all wrong? The Earth is telling us something — about who we are, where we must go, and what it means to be alive.

About what it might mean to live.

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