There is not much between you and me. There is not much between us or the world. Nothing sets us apart aside from who we are, which, and let’s face it, I am me and you are you. The world is the world. The questions are the questions and to each their own.
Everyone has their own path. But I get it. There is no more time to waste and no time to argue or find a reason why things happen. There is no way to soften the hard edges in life. There is no way to pause the clock. There is only hope and the means to find this thing we call sanity.
I think back to a trip I took to the beach. I was only a young man at the time. Or at least, I was pretending to be.
I think about the sunrise coming up. The tide was low and the waves came tumbling into the wet sands. I was perfectly alone. I could hear the seagulls calling out. They were turning and flying above me in the sky. We were closing in on the opening of summertime, and the unofficial start known as Memorial Day Weekend.
The entire world was about to go on with the show, but me, I had no idea. Where was my mark? What was my cue?
In the terrible fray of life and misunderstanding, I walked along the beach after a long night out with a crazy group of people.
I wondered why I stayed in the places I stayed or hung around the people I hung around with — which, by the way, this is not to say there weren’t any fun times. I had fun. I had plenty of fun as a matter of fact.
After a while the fun became unfulfilling, which left me unfulfilled. Or better yet, this left me wanting, hoping, and hungry for something I have never tasted before.
I have always felt this deep, spiritual connection with the ocean. Safe to say, I think She knows me best. She knows my secrets too. She takes them out with the outgoing tide to dissipate in an anonymous sea.
I know I am not the only one that tells my secrets to the shore. I know that I am not the only one that loves it this way, when the beach is vacant and empty.
All the indentations in the sand are the footprints of people like me, looking for the perfect chapel or sanctuary.
To me, the beach is somewhere that confessions are heard and sins absolved without the formalities of things, like say, The Act of Contrition or the “Our Fathers” and “Hail Mary’s” on a bended knee.
There is something truly valuable about self-realization. This means when you know, you know. This means when the student is ready the teacher appears. The difference is also a sense of understanding.
Sure, it’s easy to have someone tell you the answers. It’s easy to have someone else come to a realization about our life — but nothing sticks like the realizations we come to on our own. No two words in the English language are as powerful and profound as the words, “no more!”
Safe to say there were times the beach and I discussed this very same thing.
When the weather changes and the beach becomes vacant, the sands keep our secrets and never tells a soul. When the summer comes and the crowds return, alright, I get it, the blankets cover the hoof prints of our troubled complaints.
As I see it though, seasonal friends do seasonal things. Real friends do not come in waves or vacate the premises, simply because the weather is rough.
I understand it rains in life. I know you understand this too. And everyone likes the sunshine. Everyone likes to share in the celebrations.
But the beach is always there and always the same. The ocean is always moving, like the chest of Mother Nature; rising high as She breathes in, and sinking low as Her breath moves out. There is something poetic about this world. Truly, there is.
There is something even poetic about the driftwood that washes to the shore. There is a story to everything. Sometimes I find things washed upon the shore and wonder what the story is. Sometimes I wonder if the driftwood has a birthplace. How far did it travel? What it’s like out at sea, and drifting in the distant waves?
Sometimes I listen to people interpret what I’m saying when I write. One time, I read a series of threads about a piece of mine that was posted on a public forum.
It wasn’t me that posted it either.
The readers were trying to figure out if I was older or younger. One reader mentioned that it was possible he graduated with me back in 1963. I was called an “old soul.”
Some disputed my whereabouts. There was a dispute about which generation I belonged to because of the terms I use, which, I suppose are outdated to some.
I used to be insulted when people would interpret my writing. Or should I say, I was insulted when people misinterpreted what I was trying to say.
“I think he is saying the world is a sad place and sad things happen and sad, sad, sad, sad, sad,” which was literally not what I wanted to say at all.
Someone would argue this point by explaining what “they” think I am saying. Meanwhile, only I know my intention.
Then again, art is subjective. Right or wrong, good or bad, this is my art.
I say this is my art and my therapy, same as I say this is my voice, and sometimes, this is the only way I know how to alleviate the ideas that swirl in my head.
Sometimes I write to heal. Sometimes I write to feel. Sometimes I write to laugh, and sometimes I write to remember “this is me,” good, bad, or anything in between: this is who I am.
As for the ocean, well, She is the mother of my soul. She understands. She knows the weather can be rough sometimes. She understands the seas can be dark.
Sometimes the undertow of life has a way of pulling us in and drowning us in our crazy, man-made dramas. And sometimes, it’s just nice to stand at the edge of the sea on a beautiful Sunday morning. No one else is around. The warm sun is awake, and so are we. The sky is blue and there is no one else but us — which means I can speak freely to you.
This means I can stream my thoughts to an outgoing sea and keep company with the driftwood that swears to never tell a soul.
God, there were times when I felt so tight and bound up. There were times when all I wanted to do was unravel. I tell you no lie, the sound of the waves is the sound of understanding from our Mother’s breath.
The gulls calling out and the hiss from the waves receding from the shore, is to the soul what angels are to their wings.
I’ve spent decades trying to find myself.
What do you mean, asked The Mother.
You’ve always been right here.
I know Mom.
It’s just that I forget sometimes.
Enter the sound of the gulls and ocean.
This is Her way of telling me, it’s okay, son.
Your Mother will always be here,
And I will always love you.
Now go home and get some sleep
I swear, life is so surreal sometimes.