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Red at Night, Sailor's Delight

Heidi Shenk

This weekend started out on a very stressful note. Around 10 in the morning on Saturday, I realized that there was something very wrong with Etsy's payment processing system. Orders were coming in, but none of them were processing properly. After heading to gym for an early morning workout, I had intended to come home, head into the studio, and start filling orders to stay on top of the frenzy of last minute Valentine orders. Instead, I could only stare at my computer screen and watch orders pour in while I could do nothing about it.

I continued about my Saturday routine. We stopped by the post office so I could drop off the few orders I was able to process. Then we were onward to the grocery store to stock up on groceries for the week ahead. Once again, when I got home, it seemed that the Etsy glitch still hadn't worked itself out, and even worse, I had no information as to when it would end.

I tried to go on about my day, but the stress of watching orders pile up made it difficult. Andrew made it his priority to try to get me to relax, but I was finding it hard to do despite his best attempts. We made some popcorn, lounged in our living room, and played Uno on Saturday evening. On Sunday, he served up pancakes and eggs for breakfast. When I finished my last sip of coffee, I checked in with Etsy to find that the issue was still unresolved, and to make matters worse, there was no given timeline for the problem to be resolved. Pages and pages of open, unprocessed orders were piling up. I was beyond stressed out.

As I wallowed in my comfy chair on Sunday evening, chalking the day up as a loss, and hoping that some Super Bowl feasting would sort of make up for it all, Andrew shouted, "You've got to see this! I'm going to have to go up on the deck for this one!" I was expecting to take in some sort of ridiculous, typically Baltimore absurdity and spectacle going down in the alley, but I was in for something completely different than what I had anticipated.

As I walked up the stairs, a red glow lit up my studio. It was as if someone had changed out our light bulbs and installed red bulbs instead. I followed Andrew out the deck door from my studio and up our roof deck steps. To the east, row house roofs and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital emitted the same red glow. And as I turned around to face the west, a gorgeous sunset was lighting up the sky in deep pinks and reds.

We stood in the frigid air watching as the light continued to change as the sun slipped further beneath the horizon. And in that moment, the stress of the entire weekend slipped away. I couldn't change the fact that I wasn't able to fill orders, yet I had been stressing out about it for the last 48 hours. I had missed everything else that was happening because of something that was entirely out of my control. And the sunset was my reminder to stop and enjoy what was happening around me despite whatever may have been bringing me down.

"Red at night, sailor's delight," I said to Andrew. "What?" he asked. "Haven't you ever heard that before? Red at night, sailor's delight. Red in the morning, sailor take warning. It's going to be a beautiful, sunny day tomorrow," I responded.

And it is. It's a beautifully, sunny day. And while I'm still trying to work around the kinks that are thrown my way, I'm making the best of it and remembering to enjoy the good things around me.

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