resting up

beach1_myshoesbResting at The Dunes – Limantour Beach

For years we stayed up late each night, then would rise for work, averaging 5 hours of sleep a night. I used to think that was normal, until I watched a series of documentaries on PBS about the health factors of sleep. The statistic that struck me was that getting less than 8-hours sleep every night was akin to smoking! Catching up on sleep was a myth that I had believed. It does so much extensive damage to your health system that you lose about 10 years off your lifespan. After losing two siblings to smoking–related cancers, that was the science that changed my sleep habits. Not only do I make getting a solid 8-hours of sleep a priority, I take naps, and consider rest an essential health priority. When we bought the cabin we spent every weekend working constantly on various renovations and tasks; stripping floors, knocking down an old chimney, prepping and painting walls. We were exhausted working weekends on construction projects, then working all week at our day-jobs. After a year of such abuse we made a pact that we would work one day and just relax and enjoy this paradise of a life on the next. We would have at least one day of rest. Gratefully we are to the stage where we can spend most of our weekend just resting and relaxing, with the occasional shelf installation, door handle adjustment, and regular yardwork to keep the blackberries from taking over the backyard. Built in to every weekend are rest traditions, like our scheduled Sunday beach sunset picnic. We stop and get a hot dinner then drive to the beach, spread a tarp just beneath the dune peaks to shelter from the wind, and lie down with a lovely spread of wine, olives, fried chicken and an occasional slice of pie. Resting and renovating our emotional and spiritual health has become a precedent. I relish watching Greg stretch out in the sand, arms folded behind his head, clouds or fog rolling in across the beach along the horizon. In this composition I follow the example of Mark Klett, whose exhibition Reinvention of Landscape transfixed my imagination upon seeing his work for the first time in 2001 at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. Klett would include himself in the composition by leaving a pair of gloves, including his legs, or his shadow. Here I have integrated my shoes at the bottom,… for you to step into and share my perspective – to rest and enjoy the view.

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