Whipped cream clouds atop a deep blue Jello sky.
A dessert of a day.
I sit on the shoreline taking it all in.
I watch quietly and no one around me is even aware.
There are those who weather the breeze from the protection of a sweatshirt or towel -
Others who are barely cold.
The noise level is so loud you can hardly hear anyone,
And yet the solitude of the sound has a quality of peace about it.
I could sit here for hours - I doubt anyone would notice me.
Already I am in the background of at least one hundred snapshots -
At least one hundred videos.
One family of eight has all sixteen eyes on the toddler in their midst;
She waddles about unconscious of their focus.
They smile at here, as do passerbys - she sucks her paci at the center of their universe.
Screaming teenagers skip through the too cold water.
Only a few are brave enough to enter it.
Older people walk slowly, enjoying their time, just missing their shoes from getting wet.
A foursome plays bocce ball, their field ever increasing.
At one point a blue ball rolls too near the incoming tide.
I can tell they are torn fiercely between the rules and the riptide.
Bikes teeter by, kites rise and fall.
Cars crawl along, aware for the darting of children - thrown balls - who knows what.
They aren't the dominators here.
My three are the architects of great castles - fortresses worthy of battle -
But the ocean is patient, as are the birds.
They know that soon enough we will all clear ourselves from what they alone own.
The waves come for all of us, and we scoot back our chairs, tents, umbrellas, towels.
Unintentionally perhaps, we leave behind bits of bread, crumbs for the gulls.
I watch it all and perhaps others watch me.
I'm quiet, and I don't have to enter the waves for them to bear down on me.
Their rhythm lulls me. The sun warms me right down to my cold bones.
The water starts to sand down my rough edges -
My hardened exterior is broken into bits of shell...
Parts that can be viewed from a new perspective, or perhaps displayed in my living room -
But no longer a necessary armor of protection.
Something about the ocean seduces me into safety.
I rarely enter it. We have an understanding, the ocean and I.
I will come near it, bring it my burdens, and in return, I will let it wear me down.
I will be open to its life giving force of perspective.
And that is enough - that is sacrificial offering - to stop for a time in taking care of
Everything, and instead find myself as simply part of everything.
For life that is bigger than me, love that is stronger than me,
Hope that holds tighter than me, Peace that envelops me -
Wow, God, thank you. Amen.
From A Basket of Apples, April 8, 2010, Brandi Calhoun Diamond