(This was written in July 2005, after a trip to Padre Island to visit my daughter. The picture at the right was taken with my old Vivitar film camera, before I learned to keep the horizon straight!)
So there I am, standing there in the incandescent sun, having just arrived a little after lunch with my wife and daughter. The blue and turquoise waters extend far into the distance, where they blend into the bright sky. A strong breeze cools us at the water's edge, and the noise is like a giant powerful engine punctuated by the squeaking of birds that need to be oiled.
The waters beckon and I enter the surging sea, and immediately find that it enforces its restlessness upon me - there will be no standing still in this surging, constant motion. My wife joins me and we become for a while the ocean's toys.
"How do I do this?"
At first I try standing up.
Ouch. Note to self: don't face the waves directly. Turn sideways, stupid.
Sideways works. So I do that for a while. Then I squat down. Now I am directly in line with the froth and surf. Mano-a-wavo.
"OK, ocean, gimme the best you got."
Not bad. That was a little one.
"OK, shoot your best shot, ocean. Come on."
"Oh s _ _ _!"
Oooohhh. (Pick myself up.) That stings the eyes.
So I turn around with my back to the surf.
"OK. ocean. Let's see what...."
Cough - cough. Ptui.
And that's how it was. My wife, my daughter, and I doing this for two solid hours like a bunch of kids. It was physically strenuous - being alternately knocked down by the incoming waves and then lugged back out by the outgoing flow of water. No exercise session or hiking trail can equal this aquatic workout.
And yet, when we gathered our things and walked back to the car, the sensation was oddly not one of exhaustion but instead of profound calm and well-being, as if all the physical and mental toxins were washed away in the clear salty water.
How invigorating and life-giving it was. And yet magnificently lovely, as the feeling of being thrashed gave way to the sensation of being caressed by some powerful yet gentle Being. We drove slowly back along the paved surface between the sand mountains, windows down and savoring the quiet soft wind. Then the distant buildings came into view, and there was a sense of disappointment and sadness.
For the buildings really do not belong here. They do not belong because, once built, they become simply another city, no different than those on the mainland. Driving through the streets amid the cars, trucks, garish signs, and racket is no different from driving around in the big city 600 miles away that we left to come here.
The island uniqueness of the place is being slowly removed and replaced with mainland commerce, and it cannot be put back.
Those who built here have apparently not experienced the force of the sea as we did this day. They have not respected its power and are likely to be surprised when the ocean some day comes and repossesses its sliver of sand.
A journal entry a few days later:
7/25/2005: Our Lives as Being Loved. (Or our lives as Being)
Wouldn't our lives be so much easier if we accepted that the Spirit of existence is benign? The Spirit creates the warm bright moist green planet out of the eternal cold and wishes to participate in its richness - and the only way It can do so is to give Itself form as us. Spirit creates each one of us so that It can interpret the Earth, so that It can experience Time.
Spirit is creating us as a way of experiencing the opulence of Its material creation. So Spirit says to each one of us (if we will listen):
"I have created your existence for your enjoyment and Mine. Your existence is not a test. It is a gift.
And do not be afraid.
I will not punish you for anything that you did.
I will not punish you for anything that you did not do."
Copyright © 2015 J.A.