Plans and Free Beauty

Rainbow over the cottage

Sunset on Butterfly Beach

Jason and Melissa waiting on the wall for the rest of us

Walking on the beach

So many people, dogs and surfers enjoying the day

Jason and I are planners. It is one of the strengths in our marriage. We both love to make plans. We planned to go to England for my 40th birthday five years in advance. We get our calendars out in January and sync them for the year. We make packing lists for Yosemite. Both of us are goal oriented and I supposed goal oriented people like to make plans. In catering my years were often booked 6 months to a year in advance.

One of the positive things that we actually plan into our calender are WAH's. That is short for "Weekends at Home." It is basically a plan to block out a weekend and not have a plan. They are fairly sacred. We try to do them once a month, but with our lives they often happen every six weeks. We went to marriage counseling when our lives were going at breakneck speed and we didn't have enough time to talk to each other. (I highly recommend marriage counseling by the way if you are ever going through a rough patch. And I recommend going back for tune-ups. Why just "be" in a marriage when you can chose instead to have a happy and wonderful marriage from some simple helpful advice.) The counselor recommended not only trying to find 10 minutes a day to take a walk together or sit down together and talk, but to also plan these WAH's. That way we had full weekends to stop, regroup and spend time with each other. I can't begin to tell you how nourishing they are.

Sometimes something last minute will come up during a WAH. Jason's brother flew in to town on an unexpected trip, so of course we changed the plan to see him. We had a lot of down days during Christmas and Jason had two weeks off from work, so we probably shouldn't have started out the New Year with a WAH, but next month is really busy and we won't have one again until Feb. 13 and 14th. So we decided to block out the 9th and 10th. Then on Friday afternoon our dearest friends called and asked if we could have a slumber party in the Anacapa cottage at the Biltmore. Our kids love their kids and we love the parents and both our lives are so busy between their homeschool schedule and ours we hardly ever get to see them. So we made a compromise. Jason said "let's get some things done here on Friday and then right after Katherine's basketball game on Saturday we'll head up to meet them. Then Sunday afternoon we can come home and get some other things done." Saturday afternoon we get a text that said "Let's go to Lucky's" which is a restaurant I love to go for dinner (GREAT creamed corn, oysters and Abalone. Not to mention the bone-in filet and my favorite drink The Side Car.)

Somehow the last minuteness of it all was so joyful. And if we hadn't blocked out the WAH in the first place, we would have already had plans and wouldn't have been able to join them. We had just had a relaxing weekend at home on our anniversary January 2 so I was glad we both agreed to change the plans for these unexpected ones.

On Saturday night, an hour before we were leaving for dinner, there was a gorgeous full arc rainbow during sunset. On one side you had this sunset over Butterfly beach that looked like the clouds were on fire. Then you turned around and looked towards the mountains and there was this amazing rainbow. My pictures couldn't capture the full arc. There is something about a rainbow that gives beauty, hope and promise. It is something that every child and adult can rush to see and be excited about. In fact, I was taking a nap in the room and Jason came in and said to all of us "you have to come out and see this amazing rainbow." It was wonderful to see all the people gathering on the street to gaze at it. So even though Montecito is one of America's most beautiful enclaves for the rich and famous, the rainbow is free. Anyone walking by could see it. Anyone could enjoy the sunset. The beauty exists for all to enjoy.

On Sunday morning we woke up and sat outside on the porch of the cottage looking at the ocean. It was so beautiful it felt like a dream. Then we all went on a walk on the beach. For some reason I never knew that Butterfly Beach connected to Miramar. I must have been on it before at high tide when you couldn't walk through. So it wasn't until we were halfway down the beach that I realized we were about to get to Fernald Point.

For 30 years, when I have come around the corner from Summerland into Montecito, Fernald Point welcomes all to the beauty of Santa Barbara. I've always wanted to walk there but I had no idea how to get down there. And I'm usually in a rush when I'm driving by there. I'm on my way to a meeting or walk-through or I'm heading to Solvang or Melissa has a class. Somewhere that I need to be on-time and can't start driving down streets trying to figure out how to get to that beach. It gave me such a sense of satisfaction and peace to be there. Like I had accomplished something because I'd always wanted to do it. The day was gorgeous and I was walking with my husband and my kids were so happy with their friends. And even though it was all an unplanned twist of fate, taking the time to block out time for each other and our marriage in the first place resulted in this joyous weekend.

As we were walking back and being amazed at the surfers and the sun glistening on the water I said, "This gives me as much joy as when we were walking in the big snowflakes to the Colt's game in Indiana." There are so many different kinds of beauty and the white snow coming down is beautiful and the sun on the ocean is beautiful and the greatest gift in all of these is that they cost nothing. They are a gift from God and nature and we only have to take the time to pause and appreciate the beauty. We are so Blessed!


Solvang Sherrie said…
Omigosh, Maili, what a beautiful post. The photos, yes, but you are an amazing writer as well!
Karen said…
What a beautiful story Maili - I'm just now starting to explore your blog. You are a great writer! Butterfly Beach has always been my favorite Santa Barbara beach. My parents took us to that beach when we were growing up.

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