Friday, October 25, 2013

One More Wave

The setting sun created diamonds on Atlantic waves as they eased onto the shore of Crescent Beach. From my seat beside the huge windows upstairs in the South Beach Grill, I could see people finishing up their beach excursions, preparing to head off to find dinner or another family activity to keep the kids happy.

The restaurant was right on the dunes, so I had a great view of a group of teenagers as they sat bobbing on surfboards. On the beach a father was futilely waving both arms in an effort to get their attention. They didn’t see him or they chose to pretend they didn’t. Either way they sat waiting, eyes on the horizon, looking for one more wave. One last wave before calling it a day. One more ride. One more time feeling free before the world once again closed them in its tight grip.

We had come to the beach south of St. Augustine for a quick getaway. Linda and I both desperately need to be somewhere and do something that was not related to a job or some other obligation. We needed to feel free, even if it was only for a few days.

We rented a tiny condo directly on the beach. In the morning we could sit on the balcony and watch the morning sun dance on the water. We watched sea birds and shrimp boats as they went about their business. People and dogs and played on the beach. At night the moon rose, casting the visual equivalent of a siren song upon the softly undulating waves and the silent sand.

We did some of the tourist things that one does in St. Augustine. We toured the local winery and the haunted lighthouse. We even drank from the Fountain of Youth (still waiting to see positive results from that). We found a couple of local, non-chain restaurants where the food was great and the people were friendly.

In the evenings, Linda and I walked on the beach. As we walked, I looked alternately at the water and at the beach itself. I could see signs of the people that had parked themselves there earlier in the day, catching rays and running into and out of the sea. They had cleaned up after themselves, leaving only footprints and the imprints of their beach chairs.

One evening, I came upon some words written in the sand. “Rebecca loves . . .” someone had written in the unmistakable hand of a teenage girl. I don’t know who Rebecca loved. The rising tide had washed away the name of the other person. By now, that relationship might have gone the way of the waves. Someone else may hold Rebecca’s affections, or perhaps she still holds that person in her heart. I’ll never know. But I do know that Rebecca loved someone, and that’s the most important thing.

I needed these few days more than I realized. I needed to see the ocean and hear the waves. I needed to know that the world was different than I had been experiencing. Living day to day sometimes gets in the way of life. Thank God I have someone in my life that made me realize that we needed to get the heck out of Dodge find something else.

After all these years, I’m ready to acknowledge that I’m tired of always keeping to someone else’s schedule and being totally defined by someone/something else. Sure, I have a job and I understand the need to work within certain parameters. I have no problem with that. It’s just that I am, after so long, realizing that I can say what I think and make my own choices. I can pay attention to my own internal navigator.

It’s time to look to the horizon for one more wave and not worry about who may be on the shore telling me that it’s time to come in.