Driving North on the 101, there’s an imaginary line, where, once crossed, life becomes effortless. It’s where the road narrows, and to the left is ocean forever, and on the the right, mountains climb, and without even thinking, I grab the wheel, so Bryan can get lost in the waves. Up ahead, the Ventura bridge hovers in teal air, and down below, rocks jut at the perimeter of the famous surf spot, Rincon. With the city behind, and a slower pace ahead, we simultaneously exhale those deep our shoulders feel lighter and life is so deliciously simple breaths. As salty air greets through open windows, we can taste and feel it, our bodies relaxing, as we gulp one last look at Rincon, and then under the bridge our car hums up the coast.
A slow down breath, a Rincon moment. That nostalgic, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be, undistracted, fully present, this is how I’m choosing to live right now and it’s not perfect but I am so.dang.thankful moment. Where peace and time hold hands, leaving no room for chaos.
Where is that place for you? Those moments you aren’t aware you are holding your breath until you let out a deep sigh, so engulfed in the present? Is it a street you drive down, or a familiar meal? Maybe a specific song? Where does your heart leap inside, and bang at your chest, and you feel so alive you forget momentarily about dentist appointments, or a recent argument, or the stress of today? What do you call your Rincon moment?
As much as I’m tempted to hop in our car and head North toward Ventura, stopping at Summerland to antique, and Santa Barbara to wine-taste, and winding up up up along the coast to experience a slow pause, I’m celebrating our very own Rincon moments here. Smack dab in the middle of laundry piles and work deadlines and parenting, I’m noticing those deep, simple exhale moments exist here too.
Take this week.
There was a Rincon moment when we took the boys to see Home. Bryan and I were exchanging “Why in the world did we pay money for this movie” eyes above their heads, when the main alien character was suddenly squashed, and we noticed Ty’s eyes pooled with tears, and then slowly, one fell toward his quivering lip. And our worlds stopped. I let out that long exhale that happens when I’m so absorbed in a moment. Seconds later, when the extraterrestrial cartoon survived, Ty erupted in laughter. And there it was, this tender glimpse of our empathetic boy; the one who cries when a movie character is in harm’s way. Sweet sigh. A Rincon moment, for sure.
There was visiting GG (Great Grandma) Snyder at her home, enjoying simple conversation over In-N-Out burgers. She swiveled back and forth in her blue chair to meet Bryan’s eyes, then scoot scoot toward mine. The boys played hot or cold with coins she’d gifted them, and there was no urgency or need to be anywhere else than with her, surrounded by a comfortable stillness of listening and sharing. Have you ever noticed how calm older people seem? I don’t sense the fidgety, frantic, hurried agenda I can easily carry. At 92, I asked her of wisdom, of life advice. Her reply? “At 10 years old, God saved me from lock-jaw, and He’s gifted me with 82 years since.” Boom. A precious, Rincon moment. Gratitude for each day.
It comes when I’m not trying to create a moment, but to simply enjoy the one at hand. In the midst of real life, with a whiny son, therapy insight, dreaded meal planning for the week, and gray – so much gray –hair, Rincon moments surprise.
With no plans after, we took the boys through our old stomping grounds at APU, where we’d met in college. Holding their hands on Cougar Walk, where we’d once held hands, felt whole and calming and content-sighing. And old, we felt super old too.
Somehow, we ended up in Claremont, a charming town that hinted at the whimsyness of our beloved San Luis Obispo. At Shelton Park, after savoring 21 Choices Yogurt, the boys played soccer, and climbed a stone statue, and the mixture of people-laden streets, and open-air restaurants, vintage shops, and large overgrown pepper trees, meeting Sawyer, the apricot Goldendoodle, and stopping by a new funky store where the curious owner literally asked, “What do customers like? Do you have any ideas for how I should use this space?” And so we dreamt: “Perhaps tables in the middle to invite conversation between you and shoppers, and a small buffet with lemon water, as though you are offering them space, a few minutes to find refreshment and inspiration. “And sell what you love,” I’d urged. “People want to buy what you are passionate about.”
And before we knew it, all the smells and colors and conversations of this newly discovered village had stolen our family’s heart for an evening, and it all felt so Rincon moment-ish and fabulously wonderful, and I realized my ears hadn’t touched my shoulders all day. For we were far too busy soaking up simple, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be bits.
Hoping that for you today, Friend. However those enjoying life to the fullest moments come.