The Beach (20220704)

The noise always surprised him but could almost be ignored. It lulled him to sleep, it roused him up in the morning, and provided a background symphony during the day. The source of the sound could be watched without boredom since it changed in every moment. And if he closed his eyes and just listened, the rolling sound as it worked its way from left to right, or sometimes from right to left, could calm his soul.

The beach intrigued him by what was hidden in the sand and what lived in the water. His heart swelled watching the rising of the sun which cast its glow over ripples and waves, and the setting of the sun over rooftops and through alleys helping shadows dance and sway.

At this moment he was sitting on the deck with his morning coffee. Like his mom before him, he enjoyed observing the marvel of nature expressed by the rolling waves, the gliding of dolphins, the warming breeze, the spinning sand, and the performing creatures that gave elaborate shows of intricate dashes, quick pivots, and graceful dives along the beach. It was a time to just breath and be.

Soon others rose and the beach was invaded by chairs, umbrellas, tents, and canopies. Where once was the near white of the beach sand, now stood a rainbow of colors blocking the sand and cautioning the creatures to stay hidden until nightfall. A different noise was now apparent. Laughter and giggles of children and their parents as they ran along the beach, dug in the sand, and dove in the water. Music could be heard over the breaking waves originating from electronic devices and homes, a cacophony of sound not too dissimilar from the crashing of the waves.

Returning his coffee cup to the kitchen, he grabbed his fishing rod and reel. He snagged the kite on his way out and smiled. He walked down the boardwalk to the beach stopping about halfway. Clipping the kite on to the fishing line, he cast it out seeking to catch the wind. He knew he would for the breezes never stopped, they came from the ocean or from the land and only in the brief period when they switched directions was there any stillness.

He watched as the line went out and out. Pretty soon the kite was flying by itself, needing no one to keep it afloat. He tied off the rod and then sat back and watched as now the kite joined the air dance of movement found all along the beachfront. He wondered how the seagulls saw the kite as it skipped and slid along the wind currents. He wondered, but did not look, at what the kids on the beach thought about it. And he had to examine himself to see why he really was wind fishing.

That was the biggest blessing of the beach: the moments of self-examination and awareness. The bits and pieces of time where an ah-ha moment might just spring out of the dune grass or the blowing sand, or in this case, the dance of the kite.

He smiled again because he realized how many constraints he put on himself and his thoughts. How he, unwittingly, tried to put boundaries and control his thoughts. It was like the banks of a river which constrained and altered the flow of water.

He turned his head and looked back out over the ocean and along the beach. Yes, it was now a bit more chaotic with the people darting from here to there, or parked on a beach chair roasting, but there was more freedom than some of his thoughts. Raising his vision to seek the horizon, he saw the expanse and though he realized, there was a majesty to the ocean.

And there it was: majesty. His riverbank thoughts did not allow for the majestic, the marvelous. They shaped his reactions, his behaviors, and habits. They did not have the flexibility as did the waves crashing on the shore nor the flight of the sand as it capered down the beach trying to find a place to land.

The express “roll with the punches” occurred to him. Perhaps his thoughts needed to roll with the beach. He needed to allow them freedom, calmness, and rhythm more in tune to who he was.

And he chuckled. Yes, the beach was a teacher, and he was the eager student. He hoped he would remember the days’ lesson as he moved away from the beach and back to his home. He prayed he would marvel more often at the sights and people around him and pay more attention to the ebb and flow of daily life. He committed to allowing his thoughts to overrun the banks he had put up for so many years.

He sighed as he began reeling in the kite.

The beach had so much to offer, and it was up to him to accept the gifts offered, the lessons learned, the marvels revealed and the majesty of the moment.