Friday, February 12, 2010

The Beach

At 2am on March 31, 2009 my life changed forever and I fell into an abyss of heartbreak that has yet to end.  But I can see a path even though I don’t want to follow it.
I was dropped from above on to a lonely dark beach.  There was a terrible storm and the waves and wind were all consuming.  The salt water stung my eyes while the wind whipped the sand over me and ate at my flesh.  The waves pelted me from all sides and the wind kept me pinned to the beach floor.  I could see no one because I couldn’t open my eyes.  I could hear no one because the storm was so loud.  I could feel no one because I thought I was alone. 
Later when I was able to open my eyes, I saw behind me past the beach was a forest of tall green trees bending to the screeching wind.  To my left the beach rose to meet the black rich dirt of the forest as a cliff was formed with mighty rocks and boulders below at the surfs edge.  The waves pelted the rocks showing only the razor sharp edges gazing at the slumped form laying on edge of the cliff above.
To my right was unending beach stretching for eternity but I could see other shapeless forms standing, kneeling, laying in the surf fighting the storm helplessly.
I stayed in the same place on this beach for months as the water and wind and salt ravaged my body and soul.  I could not reach out or talk to anyone else on the beach.  As time went by I noticed many of the shapes on the beach were gone.  They had either run into the forest or swam into the ocean or walked farther down the beach.  A few were still in the same place.  The shape on the cliff had moved closer to the edge.
Slowly the storm began easing up letting me finally take an uninterrupted breath but leaving me cold and shivering.  As the days went by I noticed that the waves had diminished but continually washed over me keeping me warm as I lay in the surf.  The salt still burned my eyes and the sand still scarred my skin but the wind had subsided. 
I would look down the beach for the others and saw a few still in the surf like me.  I watched the form on the cliff finally crawl into the forest and back to the cliff over and over again.  Looking for something to keep him warm but finding nothing.
Many sunrises and sunsets have come and gone since the storm changed my life.  The young man on the cliff has climbed down to sit with me instead of falling off the edge.  The ones left on the beach have walked around the edge of the forest and back looking for a path.  I can only see miles of unending beach waiting for me to walk it. 
But I like sitting in the beach puddles and letting the warm water wash over me.  Sometimes I wish the storm would come back so I could feel the strength of its power engulfing me.  This time, however, keeping me safe and far away from reality.
The ocean waves are memories of Mary. The forest is life continuing without me. The cliff is a quick answer.  The beach is a slow answer.  I need to stay close to the waters edge so as the tide comes and goes it can caress my soul.  Some days the waves are taller than I am and they overwhelm me and knock me down.  Some days they gently wash over my feet and the sand disappears from under me as I sink down.  I don’t want to move but the waves are carving a path down the beach. 
The young man beside me wants to walk away from the ocean and go into the forest.  I want him to walk with me down the beach where the others are patiently waiting for us.  It’s a hard decision for both of us.  It will be a long journey no matter which way we go.

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