When the Ocean Comes Closer

I awoke to the rain trailing down consistently, persistently, on the roof, on the windows, on the asphalt outside the beach house.

And though the day was gray and wet, and we were on vacation, and the humid air in the house stuck to my skin, I was happy.

I guess I can be happy or unhappy anywhere, depending on my choice of emotions, right?

I was the only one awake at that time, as I am most days, and I treasure those early morning moments, the first fingers of light and awakening with a new day, a new chance at joy and prosperity and hope.

Last night, we had dinner with family late into the dark night, when stars twinkled overhead and the children were antsy to head to the sand for flashlight tag.

Darting between dune and lifeguard chair, protective rail and open expanse, they tired themselves out at a good hour. We retired to our own bed, worn good in the way that happens on vacation, when we live more fully than we do on a regular day.

And why is that, I wonder?

Why not pour all of my emotions into my routine, my regular life, my everyday? Why save it all for vacation?

Is it because we are freed of all expectation or want, worry or concern, when away from home? Is it because we are freed to dream, to rest, to read, to enjoy when we don’t have a mountain of obligations on the kitchen table before us?

We had a Hawaiian lunch near a Delaware beach and then oiled up with sunscreen and zinc oxide covering yesterday’s inadvertent burns to head to the beach. The sky was still cloudy, but I could hear the waves pounding the shore from the front door.

We waded over the dunes, chairs and beach bag slung over our shoulders, until we found the cousins and settled into the expanse of the beach marked for our family.

The kids shot toward the ocean to jump in today’s waves, roiling and gray, reflecting the summer sky. Today, a cliff of sand had been carved into the dunes from the pounding of the waves, the summer storm.

But we were happy.

How could we be anything else?

The waves are driven by the phases of the moon, energy pushing them in and out in formation and it changes by the day.

You know, we are affected by this environment, too. By the world of this earth, the world of the heavens. Our moods dim and brighten with the realization of our power, and our lack.

And so I want to speak a little bit about fear.

It is occuring to me as I sit in my beachhouse perch, hair frizzy from the summer weather, and not caring one little bit, that I don’t want to live afraid.

Not that I do on a regular basis, but I am human, too, and it seeps in in time.

Some of us, though, it’s the lifeblood in our veins. Fear. Running strong, wearing a Halloween mask.

And we tell ourselves stories to delay the realization that we are afraid.

We blame other people. We spin fictions. A client emailed me to admonish me for speaking directly to a corporate partner, when I always have over the many years we’ve worked together.

Don’t speak directly to our partners, Lynne, she wrote.

And I felt sad.

Because if we live in a world where we don’t quite trust the people we’ve hired to make things better for us, to make work easier, to help us get closer to our goal, then what, exactly, are we doing?

I’m on vacation so I don’t much worry about this. It’s business. It’s back-home. It’s so not important.

But it made me sad for a quick minute.

The thing is, I don’t want to move in circles where fear tugs on the leash.

I want to run free toward the sound of ocean waves breaking against shore, knowing that I will be safe, but I will be dwarfed by the magnificence all around me and that is ok.

As my youngest son and I trudged back up the beach toward home late this afternoon, I said something about how remarkable the ocean is, how it makes me feel so grateful to be alive, and yet it reminds me how small I am in the scheme of things.

It’s nice to be humbled.

Because then we realize the partners we must make in order to succeed in this world.

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