Under the Moon and the Dying Sun

COLD OCEAN WATER washes over me as I grab the front of the board and duck under the rushing wave. I reemerge, invigorated by the shock. The glare of the sun has faded and I can now look into the horizon’s orange glow before the sun disappears completely.

Keep going, says the voice in my head.

Keep paddling, keep trying. Never settle.

The water is dark green, rolling, patient, forgiving. I haven’t surfed in several months and the feeling is one of elation and a nourishing fatigue. No injury, no pain, no setback can keep me away, for surfing is healing — if not my body then my soul, which drifts in the ocean while the sun vanishes and the moon rises overhead.

Work yourself up, worry, fear — and the universe will rest. Rest — and the universe will go to work. Life can feel so complicated. Fear is irrational, yet it seems so real.

Be still. Close your eyes. Feel yourself breathing.

Try to consider how a possibility of what might happen in the future is taking your joy and peace of mind away in the present. Put the fear to rest.

Rest doesn’t mean do nothing. It means do whatever you do with peace in your soul and trust in your heart.

I don’t know what I’m doing exactly, but I’m going.

Perhaps the more I try to know for certain how things will work out, the more stressed I become. When I return to what matters, gratitude, presence, joy, rest — what’s supposed to happen, perhaps does.

At least we feel better in the moment, and what else matters but that?

I haven’t been this afraid to confront change, ever.

And I won’t know what it means to be truly afraid, alone even, until I’m on the plane flying to a new country, starting my new life. No best friends, no familiar culture.

All I know is that this, whatever it is, will change me. Confronting the unknown is fucking scary. Physically confronting the unknown is like dunking under a frigid wave and coming up for air.

Your acuity shifts as your senses convey the pulsing waves of a new reality. Perhaps you see reality afresh, the reality we take for granted, sight, smell, touch — like wading your hand through the green translucent water — you feel the walls and come to life.

This is the cave I fear entering. The challenge of leaving home brings a richness of experience I crave; it won’t be easy, I know that — but I’m ready. From the moment I get up, my thoughts are consumed with the possibility of what might be.

My heart is ready to leap.

From the ocean, I look back at the shore and notice the moon shining over the brown coastline. It’s crisp and luminous in the darkening purple sky, its bottom half nearly full, but not completely, from our perspective down on earth.

The moon is always full, as full as it was a hundred, a thousand, a billion years ago; although from here, when viewing with our own two eyes, it seems partially unrealized, unlit by the sun’s rays as if missing a piece of itself.

It needs exposure, through change, to illuminate what’s truly there. The moon is part of us, a celestial body composed through breaking, forged in fire, entwined with the human spirit.

The moon will guide me. It always has. Now, like parents who have been there all along, although sometimes we forget to look for them, to reach out and cherish them, I know the moon will always be my light.

It hangs on the edge of our periphery, a confrontation with the unknown, a reminder of what matters in life. Every time we look at the sky we’re confronting that unknown; the moon, the sun, our time on this rock, we can’t fully explain these omnipresent mysteries.

Still, we face them head on, just by looking up.

The sun, the dying sun, everything I know and love — we carry its light with us always. Even though it’s disappearing, slowly falling from my perception of the world, the sun will always rise again — in that I have faith.

Faith, perhaps, is the understanding that what lays ahead is uncertain and difficult — a journey worth taking.

Faith is believing that no matter how dark the world becomes, the sun will rise in the morning. Faith is believing that when the time comes to confront our fears, we’ll be ready — as ready as one can be when confronting change.

Something about being in the water as the sun falls below the horizon seems otherworldly, as if the water has consumed the sun, the expansive, restorative water.

There are other surfers; the waves toss around some (me included), others glide across the ocean’s face with the utmost grace, as if skating on ice. Humans at play, seldom speaking to one another except to share a smile and a few words.

Perhaps because the feeling of this experience is impossible to communicate. The great ball of fire in the sky is no more, consumed by endless water, and what it leaves is color in its wake, color that streams across the sky and changes every moment, from orange to red to purple to darkness.

But one mustn’t be afraid, because over the shore hangs the moon, brighter now than ever before. And we all feel this. Vivified, we look around and smile. Awakened, we take part in the shifting world.

Never stop living, for life is meant to be explored, realized, discovered. We have one chance to live a life that’s truly ours — one chance to live, under the moon and the dying sun.

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