Sunday, August 23, 2009

Come run with me.

Figuratively, not literally. Nobody ever really runs with me. I've even stopped looking for partners and I now embrace it as my time; time to think, time to wonder.

Yesterday was Dylan's party. It was almost the perfect party. It wasn't too big. Everyone had fun. Everyone left on schedule. That meant an easy transition to the routine today. With Grandma and Grandpa (my mother and father in-law) still here, daddy was allowed to have the rare guilt free weekend run. My route today was one I've done countless times. I start at the end of my driveway. Travel down third beach road and past the beach. Cross over to second beach and then cruise out to the Sachuest Point nature preserve. I loop around the 2.7 mile outer trail, and then back the way I came in. For the most part I've now become so accustom to the scenery that I sometimes pass the time more concerned about pace and heart rate than the natural beauty of the area. Today, however was different.
Hurricane Bill past by in the night, and the sky was a beautiful and calm blue with gentle high level clouds. The air was warm with still good amount of humidity in the air. The ocean however told a different story. The seas were not angry, rather they were "stern". Great long swells pushed inexorably towards the land (and the trail on which I was running) and then crashed upon the rocky shores of the point. These same rocks which were typically dotted with fisherman were now once again the property of Poseidon. Spray launched 20 or more feet above them and then hid them from view completely. On days like this there seems to be an intent or purpose to the activity of the sea. It comes as no great surprise that large amounts of refuse, human refuse, get regurgitated onto the land. I feel as though we're being told in a not too subtle way that we are not masters of the sea, but rather tolerated users. Get too arrogant and disrespectful and you can be wiped away so quickly and completely that the fact you ever existed could be something very much in doubt.
Other images reinforced this "there are many things larger than man" message. The area where we had held the party a scant 16hrs earlier had also become part of the sea. The long ribbon of fine white sand which is second beach was replaced by lines of breakers which washed well past the life guard stands.
As I finished the loop in the preserve and retraced my steps towards home I thought of my family and kids. They were headed to the beach. Had I done my job as a father and taught them to properly respect the ocean? Did they understand the message? Despite knowing that everything would be fine, I pushed the pace on the way home for no reason other than to be once again available to assist should I be needed. As I sit here typing everything is fine. Dylan's napping and Alexandra is playing in the kiddie pool on the deck.
I am relieved and oddly peaceful as the awe and anxiety created by the power of nature has an amazing power to wash away the ultimately frivolous concerns created by that artificial world we call "work" or "real life." I am also reminded of what is so special about this place I now call home. What is more real, a check box or number on some company's personnel evaluation or the majesty of a 10 ft. swell pummeling and then consuming a stone outcropping (and anything on it)?

Storm waves in RI