Most everyone is familiar with The Starry Night, the iconic masterpiece painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1889.
It’s natural and completely expected to see stars at night, barring any interference from Mother Nature in the form of cloud cover. But if I were to tell you I experienced a starry morning, in a most unexpected and beautiful way, after the sun rose, it would be hard to fathom, right?
I suppose the image accompanying these words gives me away, but I have to admit I was completely wonderstruck by the unexpectedness of my encounter, even though there were expectations already in place.
On our recent family vacation to the Pacific Northwest, there were so many new and exciting planned adventures on our itinerary. Whale watching in the Puget Sound. A visit to a lavender farm. Hikes in the mountains, through a rainforest, and along Pacific Ocean beaches. Marmot sightings (think of a larger and adorable version of the gopher from Caddyshack). Also on our itinerary was wading through tide pools along some of those same beaches we walked upon previously.
What I witnessed was nothing short of spectacular. It felt as though Mother Nature pulled back the ocean waves like a blanket, to reveal an entire ecosystem of sea creature sleeping snuggly beneath it. The colors, shapes, textures, scents, and sounds all mixed together to create something idyllic. And completely unexpected.
To be honest, I had high expectations for certain aspects of our itinerary. The thought of seeing jumping orcas or sprawling fields of lavender filled my mind with grand images. And they were mostly fulfilled. However, the anticipation present for walking along a beach with the hope of discovering sea life in its natural habitat was less than overwhelming.
And that’s what made the experience simply unforgettable. When we tame our expectations associated with a situation, when we simply allow it to unfurl with an open mind, the things we discover in the process are magical.
Whether we’re talking about a walk on a Pacific Coast beach during low tide, a morning stroll through our own neighborhood, or a family dinner, by giving ourselves permission to witness the extraordinary inside what others see as an ordinary moment, the stars in the sky (and on the beach) shine bright all day long.
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