25th Hour

This whole 24/7 sounds well and good until all of a sudden we are presented with a day like today where fate hands us a 25th hour.

It only does this once a year, so when we are all of a sudden gifted this 25th hour, what do we do?

Lots of us sleep in, which effectively let’s the extra time pass us by in exchange for some extra dream-time. Others stay up late the night before, partying into the late hours and confident of not having to miss sleep because of it.

But me, I looked at it last night and decided I needed to do something constructive with it. You see, the cats would just think I had slept it in if all of a sudden I arrived late to feed them or let them out. Their iPhones don’t automatically correct the clock for them and I have failed in past efforts to explain daylight savings time to them.

So, letting their day start at four instead of five was only the humane thing to do.

With a clear sky and a cool morning to play with, I decided to go somewhere I had never been before. There is a rest stop on the St Pete side of the Skyway Bridge and that is where I set off to before five this morning.

Being on the interstate at five on a Sunday morning is a wonderful experience. You get to drive them in the manner they were built for; cruising at speed, with scarcely another sinner on the road to make you even have to change lanes.

So, the drive there took less than an hour and as I pulled in, I was faced with the immediate dilemma of where do I go to shoot. You see, the bridge goes (loosely) west to east across the southern part of Tampa Bay, so without being there before, I had no idea which side of the bridge I would need to be on in order to catch the twilight skies.

I guessed wrong initially and had to get back in the car to cross to the north side and that is where I found a little spot. You aren’t supposed to park there, but I figured that this time on a Sunday morning, any police handing our parking violations might be inclined to cut me a break.

I even put on a yellow reflective vest so that they would see me not too far away from the car and not assumed it was just abandoned. I also figured, in the off chance that I slipped and floated out to sea, the yellow jacket might help them find my floating body, if the sharks hadn’t eaten me first.

I left the car and climbed across some seaweed strewn rocks to get onto a tiny sliver of sand that had been exposed by the retreating tide. It is a bit dodgy, in truth, because I couldn’t see what I was stepping on and memories of the Ballast Point disaster haunted my every step.

But I made it and found myself standing on very wet sand and remnants of the tide still threatening to make it over the protection of my shoes. I had a definite sinking feeling though, each time the water came back in around my feet but thankfully, they stayed dry and I survived the adventure.

I have attached a few pictures at the end of the blog. The Skyway Bridge is that colored object to the right on most of the pics. Hope you enjoy!

As I drove home, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the images I got, but I was very pleased with myself for having found a purpose for this extra hour.

You see, I oftentimes go through life moaning about how I never seem to have enough time in my day for all I need to do. So, it was important for me to recognize when I was presented with such a gift and use it wisely.

And therein sprung the thought for this blog. Most of us are very quick to recognize when something is wrong and if you are like me, you moan about it.

Human beings like to moan and that is ok. It gives us a level of release when we are unhappy or frustrated and when we get sympathy for the moan it helps assuage the negative feeling that we are dealing with.

Some of us like to moan a bit more than others and as long as we don’t over-tax our listeners, that is OK. It is important to show a little restraint though, when life is beating us up a bit too much. Moaning too much will cause us to lose listeners and that becomes a real spiral to disaster … the fewer listeners to our moans, the more we end up moaning to them. So it can rapidly descend to where we have no-one to moan to but ourselves.

But, beyond the listener issue, the most important thing in this regard is to also recognize when the cause of your moan has gone away. When you finally get a good night sleep, or your back pain has eased off, or that sore throat is now better … tell yourself so. Don’t just let this good moment evaporate and not be remembered.

Memories cannot be just the bad moments, or times when things are not so great. Because then when we look back on our time, we only remember the struggles. And that can be very defeating.

Sometimes moments where bad things aren’t present have to be acknowledged as good moments. Yes, it is just a mind game, but our mind is exactly where our sense of happiness springs from.

… just a thought.