Mary likes the blue cup. It's her favorite color. The size of the cup is just right for her morning coffee, and the design, well it's a peaceful, relaxing combination of an abstract drawing in black on a background of charcoal speckled blue. It's Mary's cup.
So when we get up together, after walking the dogs, I make the coffee and get her cup. Any random cup for me is fine as long as the coffee is strong, but Mary is more artistic. To her, what makes good coffee is pleasant company, a relaxed conversation, a warm home, and of course, the tranquility of the blue cup.
The Sea of Tranquility is a basaltic basin on the moon that appears relatively black, juxtaposed against the predominantly white moon. The early astronomers Grimaldi and Riccioli thought these dark areas were actual seas, and in 1651 named one the Sea of Tranquility and another the Sea of Serenity.
The Sea of Tranquility was where the first man ever walked on the moon. When looking at the Sea of Tranquility on a clear night with a full moon, there often appears to be a touch of blue luminescence radiating out from the moon. The sea itself also gives off a bluish shade because of the relatively higher metal content in the area.
When gazing upon the Sea of Tranquility and its neighbor, the Sea of Serenity, a comfortable quiet and sense of wonder is experienced. Is it any surprise the early astronomer's used "tranquility" and "serenity" to describe these great wonders of nature so far away, on the moon?
Today as I write this, I am alone, and missing Mary. She is out of town for work and I've been feeling a bit lonely. Twenty five years together is a lot, but I selfishly want more. Although I am enthralled by the evening sky, and find the moon to be an amazing beauty of nature, Mary is my Sea of Tranquility, and my Sea of Serenity. As I rush to get my strong coffee in a jelly jar if necessary, she will take the time to find her blue cup. As I am already thinking of the business day ahead, she will turn the conversation around to deeper, more meaningful issues. From her comes this infinite, indescribable, yet clear sense of tranquility and serenity. Though we often only get a few minutes to talk, she doesn't ever just give a raindrop of tranquility, or a pond of serenity. She gives an entire sea of both.
So this morning, while waiting for Mary's return, the day starts as usual. Get up. Walk the dogs. Eat breakfast and make the coffee. But when the coffee was ready, I grabbed the blue cup. A small, trivial thing. A cup is just a cup. But then... patience... then peace.
Tranquil and serene.
Published by Tom Heston MD 3/24/2012
Tom Heston MD is a Johns Hopkins trained physician who practices clinical medicine in the Pacific Northwest.