Sydney Avey

Dynamic Women — Changing Times

Taking a Breather

Aug 14, 2018 | Adventure, Fun | 5 comments

Taking a breather

Taking a breather at Seascape

Written August 1, 2018. Our ashy air blots out most of the charm of summer days in the forest. I’ve fled my mountain community, where the sky is thick with smoke from the Ferguson Fire, and driven to the coast. I’ve made a seascape. Here on Seascape Blvd in Rio Del Mar the weather is cool and breezy with a float of warm sunshine.

It’s a double whammy, because my computer is out for repair .Can’t lose myself in writing.Thought I might use the time for contemplation but my internal atomosphere has been as murky as the air outside my window. I am as starved for inspiration as oxygen.

The pines and oaks on our property bear up well in the dense smoke under what is surely a more psychic than real weight. We have properly defended our property by clearing the ground of fuel. The fire is far enough away that no tiny ember is likely to light on a dry branch, tinder for devastation.

A place of peace 

My intentions to find a place of peace in the present situation flagged with the announcement that we can expect three more weeks of eye-stinging, throat-scratching, particle-clogged air. Tuesday morning I looked out my window. Just past the nearest tree tops a large face of thick air stared at me in eerie silence, an unwelcome guest whose departure date is unsure despite what officials have stamped on its visa. I thought about the guest room at my son’s house, available now but not for much longer. He is getting married. Soon, this room that has been our beach retreat will become a little girl’s bedroom, and we are glad.

I never tell God, “I need a break.” I did that once and he gave me exactly what I asked for. Shortly after I uttered that prayer, my ankle was broken in ten places in a bad car accident. It was a painful way to reorder my priorities. Taking a breather seems appropriate, though. I’m just stepping away for a few days to allow fresh air to clear my head.

“Want to come?” I asked hubs, knowing the answer. Hot, dry air is his happy place. Cool, damp coastal conditions shut him down. He is happy to putter in his garage, go to movies with his buddies, and take care of the cat. I leave him in good hands.

My heart smiles

The weight of oppression didn’t lift until I started the climb on Highway 17. Blue sky winked through the trees and sunshine cast shadows on the road. I turned off the setting that recycles stale air inside the car and breathed deeply for the first time in days. My vision cleared and my heart smiled.

Soon I will be on the trail that winds down to the sandy shore. I’ll walk until my hips hurt. I’ll face the ocean and look long in the distance for breaches in the the water; a whale, a dolphin, or a great white?  I’ll listen to the percussion that fills my ears, the drumming of the waves, a timpani of sound that resets some out-or sorts timing deep in my soul. I’ll watch the waves rise, unfurl, stretch their arms broadly left and right, break, splash, and sprint for the shore in a frothy, bubbling finish.

I wish you happy places to run to, in your imagination or when you seriously need a breather.


  1. Marie Sontag

    Wow. I love the way you weave words into a tapestry of emotive communication. Thanks for keeping us up to date in such an artful way!

  2. Donna Janke

    It can be easy to forget we need breathers. Yours sounds wonderful. I can certainly understand the desire to escape the eye-stinging air. We’ve had several days of haze and bad air quality over the past few weeks from fires burning more than a 1,000 kilometers away in western Canada. It’s not pleasant, but what we are experiencing is mild compared to what people close to the flames deal with.

    • yosemitesyd

      I know! My daughter on Bainbridge Island, WA is getting heavy smoke from the fires in Canada. I think it’s important to recognize that these conditions can trigger depression. I find that when I can’t be outside, I have to pay attention to keeping my spirits up. It’s not always possible to “up and go,” but maybe a couple of hours in an air-conditioned movie theater watching a feel-good film? We need to have some ideas in our back pockets. I fear we may live with these conditions until all the fuel is burned away and the weather patterns change.

  3. Barbara Haiges

    I love the way you word these little gems!!


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