Towers of white water rolled toward me. Rows of frothing Goliaths moving sideways and forwards, bumping into each other as the wind whipped their white crests of spray high into the air and further toward the western horizon, doubling their size, magnifying the fierceness.
I felt small.
Small because of the immensity of it all. The horizon, the Pacific, the colorlessness of everything my eyes could see. The foam of the ocean being sucked back in, up and over. No color in the sky, only the paleness of the stormy day. No gray in the sea, just the churning of water. No speckles in the sand, the storm having left only the black rocks reaching up towards the clouds.
The noise was everywhere. The roar and the effervescence almost silencing everything in my head. Almost, but not completely.
It wasn't just this ocean, this storm, this horizon. The electricity of rebellion was in the air that day.
And I thought of you, my sisters. Wasn't it at that moment when you marched and raised your fists? I thought of my daughter, in another place, keeping a silent commitment of her own.
I thought of the morning I had spent sitting in the small space within my heart, letting syllables of poetry ring through me.
I thought of the quietness of private conversation. The words we whispered back and forth. Kindness brought into existence by the touch of a strong hand.
And I felt the question before I heard it. I felt the guilt of motherhood of not having taken this day to teach my daughter what it means to belong to this country. I felt my shoulders round over and my head lower. I felt the cut of regret, to think that I had missed a moment, an important one, that might shape me, my daughter, our world.
And I thought of how difficult it is for me to carve these moments out. To sit in silence in an old sanctuary. To allow someone to see me, to know me. I thought of how many people were supporting me on that day, so that I could be a silent vessel filling up with the water that my soul needed to drink.
I returned to my temple of words to hear that three people had been washed out into the tempest from the very beach where I sat, at the very moment I'd been there. And what started out as a prayer for them, asking that they might be found, became a prayer for me too. Maybe for all of us.
I thought of the grand power of the ocean, and the cutting wind and the rich smell of kelp in the air and the gravity of loving and of being loved. And wasn't it that moment where I inhabited my life so fully, that those three strangers were slipping from theirs? And aren't we all just quietly falling into the ferocity of the wild?
I thought about how thin the veil is between this world and that. And what it means to fully inhabit a life. I thought about the quiet revolution that was taking place deep inside of me, the revolt against the doing, the driving, the hustling, the sheer exhaustion of trying to be better than I am. And that I had chosen to sit in a place and to allow myself to be loved and to let the words wash over me.
Was that enough?
And I sat with my question, the question that had begun to burn holes in me. The question that wouldn't go away.
And I thought about all the things I have done. The right things and the wrong things. I thought about the other day that this could have been. The day where I stood holding signs with my daughter. A day with less silence and more action. A day where I went out of myself to do the things that were being asked of me.
And I realized that my private transformation might be more powerful than anything I could have done outwardly.
Because the bravery of letting your heart open, even a little, is an act of uprising. It is a quiet march, with no signs to be held and no pictures to post. It is a silent insurgency against everything we've been taught.
To allow the last few words of scripted architecture to echo through the emptiness of my body, to catch in my throat, and to spill tears down my face.
That had to be enough.