Sunday, March 16, 2014

Retreat Quiet Time

I have to have "me" time. Preferably every day. It doesn't have to be large chunks of time...but it does have to be alone time. On a normal daily basis I find small pockets of time that I just grab for a quiet moment. The best "me" time is when I'm not thinking. Not contemplating. Not trying to attain a zen moment. It's just me, alone and quiet. Just for a moment. 

On our retreat, as you've already seen, the setting was perfect for "me time". Just perfect. 

The retreat's topic was relevant and definitely worth exploring. The overall topic was about "connecting" and living in the "now". When we find ourselves living in the moment, we feel replenished.

Inspired, I grabbed my beach chair and headed out to watch the waves and birds. 

I had not gotten settled when I looked out on the water's horizon and saw a single dolphin silently swim by. No drama. No splashing around. Just passing by. A few minutes later he surfaced again. I realized that my breath was catching with excitement. I wanted to get closer. But if I moved would I lose sight of him? I decided to risk it. 

So I ran to the pier. I RAN. I don't know if anyone saw me or what they would have thought. I mean I clearly wasn't going "out for a run". I ran to the pier and ran to the end of the pier with my camera in tow. It's a point and shoot (I left the SLR at home). So there I am at the end of the pier waiting and trying to guess where he will surface next. 

It was then that I realized that the camera has absolutely nothing to save it from being dropped and lost in the ocean. No strap to put around my wrist...nothing. Here I must tell you that it isn't "technically" my camera. It's my husband's. And much like someone being told "don't drop this", all I could think was "I'm going to drop this". 

Dolphin about to go back under. See the blow hole?
"Focus," I told myself. Stop being afraid of dropping the dang camera and take some pictures. Oops, he was just on the surface and now he's under again. He is silent. Just silent. He's so close to me that I know he will be passing by any minute. I begin to count to see how long between surfacing. I wanted to time when to snap the picture. Snapping the picture when I see him is too late. He's already below the water before the shutter finishes the shot. 

He's up again. I push the shutter down and try to have the camera do a rapid series of shots. Instead, the camera freezes. It takes minutes between shots. So when I take a shot too soon, the camera is locked when the dolphin surfaces and is actually there for a picture. 

I was living in the moment. Right? Experiencing nature and enjoying one of God's creatures. Except, I wasn't.  

I was stressed! The camera was distracting me from my "serenity now" moment. So I just stopped. I put the camera in my pocket...trying not to think un-church like thoughts about the stinking camera. I took several deep breaths and decided to be quiet and still. 

I was rewarded. There were several dolphins in the water. They were not swimming in a school, they were each having their own quiet alone time. Silently gliding by. And then I saw two fins gliding together. As they got closer I saw it was a cow and her pup. They were swimming in concentric circles going further and further out each time. The baby moving in time with the mother. Beautiful.

I did get some pics to share (though not of the mother and baby). It's about balance, right? Balance the stress of "getting the shot" with the serenity of just watching. 

In the midst of running to the pier for my photo op, I forgot to bring my glasses. I need them for close up. What that meant is that I could not see what I was photographing in the camera's small LED screen. I was "shooting blind". At one point, when I was sure I had gotten several shots of the dolphin, I looked at the camera and realized it was pointed at the SKY! 


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