Two weeks ago tonight, I found myself standing with my feet in the Atlantic, the sound of the waves drowning out all other sounds, everything black save for the stars and the lights coming from the houses behind me.

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and we had just spent the better part of the week at our old house on the island we recently moved from, slipping with ease for a few short days back into our old lives there.

I hadn’t intended to go out, but after a dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers, I remembered that we had left towels and a football from our afternoon games out on the beach. I went down to the beach to retrieve them, and as I was bringing everything back up to the house, I heard the Sirens’ call coming in softly off the ocean. I didn’t even try to ignore it. Having heeded the call countless times before, I knew a fate different from the one Odysseus met awaited me there.

I threw the towels and the football on a nearby rocking chair and headed back out on the sand, stopping only to roll up my pants before heading into the ocean. The air was still mild, and while the water was at a temperature that would have made swimming a little chilly for me, it felt refreshing on my feet.

I paced back and forth for a minute, and then turned and stared at the houses lining the coast. If you’ve never done this, once in your life, try this. Go to a less-populous beach in the off-season, later at night, after most of the beach walkers are gone. Stand out on the beach with your toes in the sand or the water, and turn and look at the lights coming from the insides of the nearby houses. There’s something about being out there, watching all the life being lived in the distance just beyond your reach, while standing completely alone, an ocean at your back. It’s without match or comparison.

Then, I turned back around again and stood for some time, looking at the Atlantic. I love standing amid all that vastness, with all distractions temporarily muted.

It was there that it came to me, what this thing is enveloping us, this feeling until now nameless.


That’s where my family is right now, in a state of suspension, living half in the old world and half in the new one. It is a gift, indeed, to have not had to walk away completely from the old world, the one chosen and much loved. And, it is a good thing, without question. But we have, undeniably, made a move from our old island to our new one. And so, now here we are, in this world of in-between, hovering.

We are in a state of suspension.

I stood that night in the same spot I stood nearly five months earlier, on the morning of our move, then sobbing, this time silent. Last time, it was shortly after sunrise, and I was drained from weeks of packing and weeks of preparing for the moment of goodbye. This time, the sun was long gone, and I was full, full from both a week of Thanksgiving activities and from memories made live again.

And this time I stood, suspended.

10 Replies to “Suspension”

  1. I loved that…thank you! I know that feeling also, though sometimes it is easier to rush through things than to stop and “feel” what you are feeling.
    And I think it is great to finally name a feeling. Somehow that helps me when I do take time to do it.
    Very beautiful, and I know that you will soak in all that God has for you in that time…and who knows what comes next for any of us, right!?
    Take care my island friend! 😉

    1. Thanks. One thing I’ve certainly learned it that if I don’t make the point to go out there at night sometimes, right when the idea hits me, I end up missing the moment, and suddenly it’s morning again. In some ways, it’s more natural to go on the beach during the day, but some of my greatest memories are times we sat out there at night, watching the fishermen or the moon over the ocean, or walking the beach in search of ghost crabs.

  2. “I love standing amid all that vastness, with all distractions temporarily muted.” Sounds like an enlightened state of mind!!! I have to say that I hardly ever am at the beach at night. Even when the beach was right in front of me during my stay in Florida, I chose to observe dusk and night from my apartment.

    1. Oh, I love the view from above, too. It just that there’s something about being right there, in the midst of it all, that’s so absorbing. It’s like being reborn in a very real sense.

  3. Beautifully written and astute post. Consciously seizing those moments of solitude seems to shed so much light on inner reflections. You are correct, in that sometimes, if you don’t make the moment happen, it has passed until another time.

    1. I’ve certainly let the moment pass many time, but maybe getting older teaches you to use more deliberation with these moments.

  4. Wow. Both beautiful and painful. And so well-written, I felt what you were feeling. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks. It felt good to give it voice, and I appreciate your kind words.

  5. I loved this post. There’s nothing that makes me feel more connected/distant to the universe than standing in the ocean at night. Suspension is the perfect word for it.

    1. Thanks. It is a connected/distant thing, isn’t it?

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