I was reminded this week that daily life is made up of small expectations that give one comfort, although they may be only noticed as such when they are gone.
I drive to one of my favorite state parks to walk my dog and along my route are the most beautiful fields that take my breath away each time I drive by. Should they ever be replaced by a condo complex I think part of me would die inside.
I step out my front door every morning and look towards the east, having a clear vision of the sunrise as well as of the surf. Ocean air is part of my daily cocktail and should it ever be blocked, or should the air turn sour, it would drive a dagger through my soul.
These small expectations, as well as many others, stitch together to give me a sense of comfort and stability in my life.
And so it is with the Tan Man, my nickname for a chain-smoking man with a perpetual tan, both of which worried me since I appreciated him enough to be concerned about his health.
The Tan Man loved one of the beaches by our house. He would be at the beach every summer day surrounded by friends with a permanent smile on his face and a warm greeting to each who passed by. We would wave to each other, he would greet my dog. I would walk by his car amazed at how pristine and clean he kept it (the antithesis of how I keep my car). Everyone knew the Tan Man.
In February, grey skies and dirty snow start to unhinge those of us who live in this wonderland, although we each would admit that we wanted to live nowhere else. Then, along with a surprisingly warm and sunny day in the midst of grey, there would be a sighting! Tan Man was at the beach! Perhaps it would be too cold for him to lie on the sand, but look! He was in his car, watching, enjoying the surf.
The message would go out to us locals. Tan Man is at the beach! How far off could summer be? The Tan Man had a nose for good weather and the appreciation for it better than any meteorologist. Spotting him would be a true lift to our spirits.
So it was with great sadness that I found out that he died suddenly right before Christmas. He has been a joyful part of my small expectations for as long as I can remember.
But this is not a remembrance of sadness, but a reminder: to take joy in each small expectation of life.
Happy New Year.