had an email conversation with a friend tonight about the best days of my life. i mean days, a series of them, sunday afternoons in which everything was perfect. perfect not the right word here – perfect is an absolute state, this was not anything that could be assigned an absolute, because it was transcendent. i am talking about this exquisite music that perfectly defined the essence of sunday afternoons at the banana belt cantina on the beach in ventura california. the air, the heat, the dancing, and the music — the music. you couldn’t not love the music. Jonathan Raffetto Band, if you’re wondering.

each sunday we went, no matter what. each sunday was its own peak experience, three hours in a heaven so far beyond what any sunday school teacher ever dreamt of. i miss the days, of course, but i will always and forever be thankful that every sunday one late spring to early fall, my daughter and i went down to the beach, had some beers, and danced and sang and laughed and it was pure joy. pure joy.

so i have a picture of happy for you, if you’d like to see what it looks like. i really needed the reminder tonight.

i’ve had tears streaming down my face the whole time posting this. it’s a good thing, really, it’s mostly the intensity of realizing just how fortunate i am, to have had such summer sundays, almost two dozen of them (it’s almost always summer here) such a convergence of time and place and circumstance, how easily i could have missed this, and i would have never known the feelings or even suspected them possible. i would have never known. and this is a sustaining warmth, a faith based on the fact that yes, it can be perfect. no, no, not perfect — it can be transcendent. it is possible. see? i have a picture.

12 thoughts on “happy

  1. There IS something about Sundays…
    Late in the afternoon, about 5-6pm I often think of the time in the 60’s when everything seemed to be just right…and I think of my Dad and what a wonderful man he was…I never spent enough time with him, and now its too late…..

  2. I think it was right when I first met you that I told you that I thought you were the coolest mom on earth. I meant it then, and I mean it now. Things aren’t always perfect, but sometimes they can be…

  3. Did you know at the time how perfect it was? I often find I’ve only recognized it in retrospect. And therefore missed the chance at the time to be as fully engaged and delighted as I could or should be.

  4. Liz, now that you recognize it, you can recreate it.. Not based on the experiances, but on what really made those moments transcendent.. The presence, the spontaniety, the open hearted ness.. The love…. I say make those days happen… Grab a kid (or two) or friend or yourself and get in the car and chase the love. You are so right, it is possible..and within your grasp….
    go for it.

  5. what sillynun said.

    or to put my own spin on it —

    why chase what’s already there? it’s inside of you all of the time; you just don’t recognize it. that’s what i think true waking up is.

    when you get back to that place, nothing can hurt you anymore. everything you thought was terrible and apocalyptic seems like a story you read in a book, or a bad dream. and you wonder how you managed to walk around all this time with your eyes closed.

    i believe in this place because i have been there…briefly. and you can’t get there by trying. it’s a surrendering and letting go. it’s not just letting yourself fall trusting someone will catch you; nor is it trusting the floor will break your fall. it’s trusting that if you close your eyes and fall backwards you will keep going forever, and that when you open your eyes again, you’ll be flying.

  6. the coolest part is – that picture? that was before my camera days, it was one of those taken with my kid’s disposable. she gave me that picture in a beautiful frame, for my birthday later that year. she’s a great kid, she really is. — oh, and yes, i absolutely knew that it was heaven right while it was going on. oh definitely. it was impossible to miss the feeling. i can remember just looking around and thinking, my god i’m listening to a great band in a funky little beachfront cantina in one of the most beautiful places on earth with my daughter on a sunny sunday afternoon, it really doesn’t get any better than this. it was sometimes a little overwhelming, feeling that good.
    the cantina’s closed down now, but we still go see the band here and there, but it’s not like the sunday afternoons.

  7. and this is the first really really good cry i’ve had in … time i can remember. it feels good. i think i might have had this building up for awhile because i don’t think a sweet memory supports a half hour of hiccupy sobbing & still going strong, but i tell you it’s not a bad thing.

    needed this.

  8. This is one of those gems of a post — not maudlin, but compelling in the emotional content of something so special. Thanks for sharing, liz. It reminds me of the times Daughter and I have spent together, particlarly on the bike, riding through the west Texas countryside, in silence, but together, sharing something that is difficult to convey to others. Thanks for that memory.

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