Day 29 ~ Holding the Space for Possibility

When I joined the Navy in the early 1970s, I learned to use a 24-hour clock and read “military time.” After noon, you add 12 to the hour (so 1 PM = 1300) and after midnight, you add a “zero” to the hour (s0 1 AM = 0100, or “zero one hundred”). For 10 AM and 11 AM you just say “10 hundred hours” or “11 hundred hours”; for noon you say “12 hundred hours”.
When I was stationed in San Diego onboard the submarine dry-dock USS San Onofre, ARD-30, we used to call the time between midnight and dawn “zero dark thirty.” It was a humorous way to capture that time in the morning when the most relevant thing about it was the DARK.
Just because it was dark didn’t mean we weren’t up; there might have been a docking (bringing a submarine into the bathtub-like “dock basin”) or an un-docking (sending the submarine back out to sea).  Those kinds of things depended on the tides; if the best high tide was at night, then everyone was up and at work. It was your business to stay awake.
Although working through the night to bring in or send out a submarine happened on a regular basis, it wasn’t every night. On all of the other nights, however, there were always two of the crew up through the night, making sure that the ship and those onboard were safe until morning. This was called “standing the watch.” We did them in four-hour shifts.
During my three years onboard the San Onofre, I spent many nights standing the “midwatch” (2330-0330) or the “last watch” (0330-0730). This meant guarding the quarterdeck so nobody could get onboard the ship while everyone else was sleeping. Although it was my job to guard the entrance to the ship, I was also watching the sky.
During those nights while I stood alone with the sea and the sky around me, I learned to love this time of the day, especially the last watch as the dawn rose up and broke over the hills of Ballast Point onto the water.
In the quiet, peace and dark  of those early morning hours, I often felt wrapped in the presence of the Divine. For that short amount of time,  I was perfect, whole and complete.  Standing there in the dark, I had the unusual feeling of being comfortable in my own skin; I had the feeling that anything was possible. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the essence of Powerful Presence.
It’s been a whole lifetime since I was that young woman watching the sea and the sky, yet this time of morning still holds magic for me. It still feels like anything is possible.
That’s the feeling that I am starting my day with today. I can’t wait to see what happens!


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