Friday, January 17, 2014

On the beach


Walked the beach today in the face of a north wind. It was slightly cold, but nowhere near the ferocity of a Wyoming January gale.

We were the only ones on the beach. A few sandpipers skittered along the surfline. A stray pelican dive-bombed the waves for gullible fish. A shrimp boat rode the swells a half-mile out.

We walked the beach close to where the whitewater swept clean the sand. Bird tracks and human tracks. Sticks and seashells scattered along the sand.

Chris used to walk this beach every day when she was growing up in Ormond Beach. I spent less time walking and more time surfing, but my beach was down in Daytona, just up the street from the house my parents bought in 1965 and my father sold in the late 1990s. I drove by it on Wednesday and it looked foreign. I spent my high school years in that house, and was a frequent visitor during the '70s and '80s. My mother spent her last days there, rushed off to Halifax Medical Center in April 1986, dying there a day later, just a month short of her 60th birthday. She died young, just how young sinks in as I age into my 60s.

We walked the beach. Inhaling the oxygen-rich, salt-laden air, lungs grateful for the infusion after decades at 6,200 feet in the Rockies.

It was difficult to keep my mind on the wind, sky, waves. Flashbacks to 1967 and the joy of a day of good surf. Arms throbbing from paddling out over and over again, stroking hard to catch a good wave. Stoked from a good ride. Just hanging out at the beach, when time stands still. All of us, sunburned, happy but not truly understanding the depth of it because we haven't seen a lot of sorrow. Plenty of teen angst but not the adult kind which can grind you down to nothing.

Walked on the beach. Remembered.


RobertP said...


Thanks for those times you took me to that house on break from UF. A pool in the yard and the beach a block away...not what I was used to growing up in Chicago.

Good times!


Michael Shay said...

Good times. You said it, Bob.