Paradise Moments

By Katie Davis

Mother Nature is by far my favorite artist/entertainer.  If in the right place (physically and mentally), one can notice that she is like a doting admirer and is constantly spoiling us by showering us with tiny gifts throughout each day. Here, I call them "Paradise Moments." The trick is recognizing and appreciating them for what they are as they come. This morning I sat on North Beach before the sunrise watching as lightning glittered across the sky.

Little mullets produced tiny ripples that disturbed the glassy surface reflecting the glowing clouds as the sun approached. Occasionally a miniature black-tipped fin would break the surface and there would be a commotion as a baby shark made an attempt to breakfast on one of the many sandy-colored fish attempting to go unnoticed in the stark white background of the flat. Of course, the reason that I had time to sit and enjoy this show was that there is a storm that is preventing me from going out and working. Oh right, that. Over the past two months (like last summer) there are constant obstacles to high morale and productive work days. The weather is obstacle numero uno. Blazing sun, bullying wind, pounding rain and even harder pounding south swells. Most days have a combination of many of these elements taking turns or working in concert. Most days we are able to work through or avoid them but not all. Obstacle number two:  annoyance with others. I won't elaborate too much on this one, just say that working for 14 hours a day with the same people for two months can be trying. Not everyone operates the way that I do or the way that I think that they should. And that can be highly aggravating. Sometimes I can't help but catch myself focusing solely on what's going wrong and I work myself up into an angry, stressed-out tizzy. And that's when "Paradise Moments" come in. I ask myself:  "Didn't you see __________ today?" (insert into blank: A giant manta jumping completely out of the water;  A school of bigeye jacks that completely encircled you; A perfect sunrise in the still silence over glassy water; 1000 hermit crabs emerging from under the ferns to feast on the daily compost dump;  etc, etc, etc).  Sometimes it takes a couple of tries (if I'm particularly worked up) but this self-monitoring (shaming) usually does the trick.  And at the end of the day there are always many moments to look back on and be grateful for.