I am so grateful for this photo of the moon setting over Moloka’I, taken from the western shores of Maui as I hiked to a sunrise yoga class a few years ago. A Hawaiian beach is not the image typically used to express gratitude at Thanksgiving. I realize, as we approach my favorite holiday, that a photo of golden leaves, turkey and dressing, and a table set for twelve is more evocative of the typical Thanksgiving. But the feeling of gratitude that this photo conjures up in me is equally compelling.
First and foremost, I was grateful for just being in this heavenly place with my husband and his parents for a vacation and a breath of fresh air. A passing glance of this scene would suggest serenity—a state of being for which we would all likely be grateful.
But there is more to this photo. I also see aspects of myself and my life, either true or craved, reflecting back at me in a way that makes me thankful to be living this “one wild and precious life” as Mary Oliver famously wrote.
The moon. I snapped this photo because of the unusual and subtle light of the moon as it set over Moloka’i. Reserved but powerful, casually observing, then writing its significance on a blank sky.
My mother taught me about our universal connection with the moon. She would pause to admire its beauty, wondering who else might be gazing at the moon at the exact same time and from what perspective. How we might all view the same thing and yet, see it differently.
The colors—the blue of the mountain, the blush and blonde of the sky, the silver of the shimmering water and waves, the brown of the soft sand. So much diversity gliding together without rivalry or jealousy or division. Proof of a creator who intended it this way.
The boat, suggesting adventure either past or future, sits quietly now, sails down, resting, waiting for the next wind.
The curl of the wave, bringing ebb and flow, constant movement at the base of a steadfast mountain built upon principles or stubbornness.
The clouds, clinging to the horizon, offer just enough complexity to keep it all interesting. Challenge, painted in the distance. Remains of a storm? Or ones still to come.
As beautiful as this scene is, what I find most intriguing are the footprints on the beach. Trails of the people who have walked with me or before me. Evidence of all the many people who have hiked their way through my life, whether by heredity, friendship, or happenstance. The ones who have guided, cajoled, or comforted me. Or those who merely enjoyed a passing moment in laughter or in tears. Whether in person or linked through words and separated by miles, the connection remains strong. Authentic markings all, on my heart and in my memory.
Just a hike on a Hawaiian shoreline from the perspective of a writer with a grateful heart. Happy Thanksgiving.