On a cool October evening, my children and I joined some Transition regulars at the Baylands for a Sunset sit on a Tuesday. It was evening, and any soot from the incessant fires up north had settled. The gate was closing at 7, so we parked our cars outside and walked up the path, where there were benches and sandbags in front of the reeds and saltgrass. We met up with Barbara and William, and looked around for a good place to sit.
We decided to sit for 20 minutes, so I got out for the kids their dinner and some snacks. They decided to sit on a bench together while I sat within line of sight on a nearby ledge. My daughter picked at the curried quinoa and ate carrot sticks, watching movement and listening and walking back and forth along another ledge. My son ate directly from the can of puffed rice, watching the lights in the distance across the water, having told me he was doing some mindful eating. My little girl asked a few questions first, then settled down.
I sat, feet gently resting on woven reeds in the marshy area below, listening to at least 20 different bird sounds, private planes from the Palo Alto airport passing low and close overhead, trucks beeping farther away, animals and wind. For 15 minutes, the kids were silent, eating.
Then my daughter walked over, sat quietly beside me, and held my hand. Silently, she leaned against me for the last five minutes, her feet dangling over the ledge.
We got up, packed up our containers and bags, likely leaving the few dropped bits of food for local wildlife, and met up with Barbara and William. We chatted, saw more planes as they disappeared into the orange-red sunset, looked at the signs that described what was happening here, where the ocean turns into bay, where saltwater meets fresh, what animals and plants make their home. My daughter drew with sticks in the sand. Then, too cold, we said our goodbyes and drove home, the sky an inky blue.