Nothing and Everything

A flashback from What Next, September 2015:

nothing everything

I was born in a Chicago suburb, surrounded by siblings and generations of family. We’d drive station wagons through gently sloped streets lined with maple, oak and elm trees year-round and lilac blossoms everywhere in the spring. Every weekend the entire family gathered at one or another’s home.

Family gatherings gradually changed after we all migrated to Phoenix. My grandparents and aunts settled over an hour’s drive away, my parents, siblings, and I on the opposite side of town. OlderBrother and I walked to school in a new, drier, hotter climate passing ocotillo, acacias, and towering oleander walls.

Discovering the areas surrounding our home gradually replaced weekly visits with family. For weeks we explored livestock pastures, orange groves and hay fields. Our favorite times were spent swinging from ropes tied to enormous trees over irrigation canals.

A week before I was to become an upperclassman at our grade school, we left my grandparents and aunts’ families behind. In two cars with trailers, our parents drove my five siblings and me across the dessert to southern California. Home became an apartment where there were more trees and a patio, but no yard.

Dad and Mother went to work immediately. Very used to caring for one another, my siblings and I took on the new climate, new society, a much faster pace and being strange, new kids in metropolitan schools.

Cool wasn’t about the weather anymore; you either were or you weren’t. In jeans, t-shirts and squaw boots, I wasn’t. My main concerns were hand washing laundry and getting dinner ready. When Mother and Dad were home together they usually argued. OlderBrother stopped being my pal and mostly worked on cars with friends. Still, we somehow got from day by day together. Some days were less together than others.

A few months later we moved into a house in a nicer suburb. Eventually OlderBrother discovered the bus lines to the beach, and went there often. The rest of us hoped to go with him some day.

Two years after coming to Los Angeles, one midweek day Mother pulled us from school and took us to Crystal Cove near Newport Beach.

The fresh ocean air lifted me from our life and for the first time in months I felt I could breathe. Tide pools, waves, kelp beds, sandpipers and sea gulls sent my senses and my imagination soaring. It was our last outing with Mother. Weeks later she left.

I couldn’t get to the shore often enough for my liking. But whenever I could, I would dig my feet deep in the sand as though that would keep me from spinning off the planet. The beach became my sanctuary.

I mostly came with nothing, only to gaze where the sky meets the ocean. Between that horizon and my feet I found everything I needed.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.”  Psalm 34:6 (NLT)


Featured image courtesy dstiel at Pixabay



Filed under Notes from the Apex

17 responses to “Nothing and Everything

  1. Some rough times there for you, huh? So glad you met your helper in the Lord. He gets us through. Good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bonnie

    Funny as we look back in time and see how much we have changed as we took different paths in life.  I certainly never thought I would be where I am today. Quiet and alone, but its ok for now. I am not finished.  I have one more road to take and I look forward in knowing you will be part of it in some way.  I sure hope things work out that way. Something to look forward to anyway.  I have been alone for so long, that living in the same house with someone would be a major adjustment. But that’s just because I haven’t done it in so long.  I remember when Sherry moved out in 2008.  I was really sad to see her go.  Haven’t had a room mate since. So being close to someone I think is going to be great.  I miss not having someone around to do things with, even if its just watching a movie or a football game. Mostly I want to be happy and have no regrets for my final path in life.  We only get one chance, I want to make it a good one!We have so many stories yet to tell.  It will be fun to make them together.OH my, this sounds like a love letter.  hahhaa, I guess in some ways it is. Love you Roo.


    • I can hardly wait for the next chapter and living in the same area once again. You’ll meet my friend from IL that’s back in AZ now by way of FL… It’s going to be great! Who’s afraid of life’s last chapters? We’ll have even more great times!


  3. Jon

    I have had my feet in that same sand and marveled also. It is hard to miss the message of God’s omnipotence and endlessness in the roll of the surf. Bless you my friend! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my, this was beautiful Roo. You are a gifted writer, and that’s the truth of it. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, my! You went through some very hard things, but look at you now! You are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OH Roo,this touched my heart. I can feel your heart’s emotions in your words. I took a breath too as you breathed in the air of the ocean and sunk your feet into the sand. So sorry though that the memory of feeling so free and breathing was followed by the pain of your Mom leaving.
    I can understand about the beach being your sanctuary. Hugs and love! And so thankful that God does hear the cries of our heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so kind to say so, JR. Don’t you think better than anywhere else we can appreciate God’s creation where the water the earth and the sky come together?


  7. Being close to water can really cleanse your soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I learned weeks after that story the only thing better is to be on a board on the water. Weeks after that first visit to the Shoreline I learned to surf. 💛 thank you so much for stopping by💙


  8. What a bittersweet experience you had growing up. You are one strong woman, my friend! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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