Tuesday, September 2, 2014
WALKING THE BEACH
A Man and His Dog, Kiawah Island, SC
The game of golf has been characterized as a good walk spoiled. And those of us who have played the game can certainly relate, even though there are still many days when all the past grief can be instantaneously forgotten. For instance, when you approach a blind shot into the eighteenth green to discover your ball innocently lying within a foot of the hole. But I can never recall a spoiled walk along the beach.
I have a theory about what mysterious urge draws us to the relentless breaking waves along the shoreline of a sandy beach. After all, our initial nine months of life within our mother’s womb were filled with the comforting rhythm of her beating heart as the embryonic fluid transmitted every sound wave to our developing senses. The sound of the sea instinctively calms our spirit as we come into range of the beach. There’s no violent crashing of driven waves on rocky outcroppings along a serene sandy beach, only the bewitching Siren song that draws us into its spell.
Any time is a good time to walk the beach, but letting the cool ocean breezes at sunrise invigorate your early morning walk seems to be ideal. There are no obstructions like trees, mountains and skyscrapers to impede the new day’s brightening rays of light over the ocean. Morning’s first light arrives well before the big combustible globe makes its daily entrance on the eastern horizon. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians and Mayans literally worshiped the sun, as they were well aware that its light sustained all living organisms on the planet. Most of us humans experience mild bouts of depression if deprived of the sun’s rays for too many successive days. Then as the shining orb nears the horizon, the eastern sky begins to glow with pastels of gold and citron and crimson. If there are low level scattered clouds of vapor droplets on the horizon, they will serve to magnify and reflect and refract the new day’s sunbeams across the sky. Only after the support players have adequately prepared us for the main attraction will the star of the show begin to rise into our view and within minutes the grand entrance is complete. Once again we’ve unconsciously managed to adhere to our planet’s surface as Earth completes another daily spin around on its axis.
As I strolled the beach this Labor Day weekend, the experience once more doesn't disappoint. Walking the beach cleanses the soul and brightens the outlook. Renewed optimism arrives on every breaking wave. Small Morning Glory blooms open their petals on the surrounding sand dunes. Shell treasures that have been deposited by the receding tides are left as one-of-a-kind rewards for the early risers. The empty shell of a large sea crab lies motionless near the water’s edge. Sea birds launch into their daily migrations along the shoreline. A young man arrives with his faithful Labrador and best friend to splash in the water. Joggers and bicyclists enjoy the pristine air sans the pollution of their routine routes through busy urban streets. An elderly couple once more walks hand-in-hand, reliving an experience they’ve enjoyed together for over half a century. A young couple arrives with a baby stroller to begin a new day and a new life as a family. And all of us are connected by a common bond as we are drawn back to our beginnings in God’s eternal presence.