Del Mar, CA

Black Sage

Vincent Van Patten

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Photo by Sophie Dale on Unsplash

Late in the afternoon with nothing left to do, I took off without a phone to climb the nearby bluffs that overlook the vast Pacific Ocean.

Don’t think so much, just go — my body drove me out the door and into the waning light.

I began my ascent, then spun around to climb backwards for an added challenge and a change of perspective. The few others walking by would give me a strange look, perhaps a laugh, while I acted as if everything was normal.

Normal.

I’m glad to provide the unusual spark of somebody’s day.

I came across a cacti garden I’ve never noticed before; the sun drifted low and became imperceptible behind the thick layer of evening clouds, opaque, full, on the fringe of rain.

My body savored each step. But it’s how these outings enhance the mind and nourish the soul that make them so vital to our overall well-being.

Each step provided clarity — this is all that matters; living, while we may.

Earlier in the day, my mom told me that a family friend had overdosed and passed away.

I still don’t quite know what to make of it.

On my way up the hill, I drew off to the side of the road. I closed my eyes. I thanked the veiled stars for every breath, because although I couldn’t see them, I knew they were there.

There, perennial, part of our reality here on Earth, yet materially no longer around. No longer around. To take place in a simple walk.

To smell the sage blowing in the wind off the tip of the bluff.

To pass others walking by and share a hello, regardless of if I feel like it because when another soul hears the word, they’re recognized. And so am I. I try to smile and show I care.

To hear an owl hoot as the day turns to night, as I was lucky enough to do without being plugged into the headphones I usually don.

I felt present without my phone, grappling with the thoughts in my head. Out on the ocean’s horizon, a beam of light broke through the clouds and shone down on the slate-grey water like a star that burns with the ferocity of the sun, watching over us from the farthest point we can possibly conceive of, and then further. Way further. Still, it’s found its way here.

Further by billions of miles in a reality where space and time aren’t things, matter is nothing, nothing matters, thus everything does.

But us? We may recognize what we have. Because here things do matter, or maybe they should. But perhaps not what usually matters — like why we don’t feel adequate; but what doesn’t, like how we are more than adequate, perfectly imperfect, on the road to better, on the road to everlasting joy when we find it in ourselves.

That’s what may; perhaps that’s what matters out there in the depths of space, a light that blinks without our knowing, a joyful light.

A moment like this matters more than anything else. I was nothing but a drifting heart amongst a few other human beings searching for something to provide meaning.

Through a walk, through movement, movement of the body and thus movement of the mind, to escape or find, remember or forget.

I sauntered through the garden, enveloped by the sweet scent of sage and dusty pines that protrude into the boundless sky like craggy spires connecting Earth to something more.

I came across Black Sage with its evergreen, fuzzy leaves. I like the name, as sage is both the fragrant, ubiquitous plant of the California Coast able to withstand the tests of time, and also a wise soul, one who’s lived longer than their physical time on Earth.

It took me a moment to notice the subtle blue flowers. A hint of color in a colorless night, food for birds and butterflies; these tiny blue flowers make the world go ‘round.

I stood there for a while until the sky became dark, taking in the earthy smell and the gentle rustling sound of the wind blowing through the trees.

Who knows what we’re really doing here?

Not the ancient sages nor modern humans. What if we’ve got it all wrong? The Earth is telling us something — about who we are, where we must go, and what it means to be alive.

About what it might mean to live.

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My name is Vincent Van Patten. This is my home, a place to share who I am and what lights my soul on fire. I’m a writer, media creator, and co-host of The Dare to Dream Podcast. Most importantly, I’m an inspired citizen of our ever-changing world. I strive to learn all that I can about how we’ve progressed to where we are today as individual cultures and as a planet. It’s my passion to fill every day with exploration and creativity no matter where I am, whether in California crafting my latest project or on my way to discover someplace new. By writing about my experiences, connecting with people and the earth, and remaining present, I always feel at home. I write to express my perspective of daily living, from the thoughts in my head to the relationships we share as human beings. I write about travel, culture, books, life, philosophy, spirituality, health, self-improvement, and history. I also write poetry and short stories  —  doing so soothes the soul. I believe we’re here to challenge ourselves by questioning all we think we know. When we do, we open our minds to a way of living we could never have imagined. This life is a journey with no finish line in sight. I hope to leave a positive impact with every step I take.

Del Mar, CA
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