I roll out of bed at the late, luxurious hour of 7:10am. I make coffee, I dunk Trader Joe’s chocolate chip dunkers in it and suck them down while waiting for my financial software to download all the past week’s transactions. I do a preliminary look at the depressing state of affairs, then shut the computer and take Grace to work.
After dropping her at the burrito making place, I leave her in the empty parking lot, knocking on the locked door and I turn west toward the beach.
I park and walk across the parking lot until it turns to soft sand, packed a little harder than usual due to recent rains, and I make my way to the edge of the water. I walk, with the other walkers. All of us bundled in our hoodies, protected from the wind while we watch the sun begin to burn off the fog. I walk, with the happiest dogs in the world, most of them let free from their leashes even though signs are posted clearly prohibiting such an egregious crime. I’m glad for the dogs and their freedom and their happiness.
I walk, with my ear buds in, which both blocks the cold wind from my sensitive ear canal that knew too many ear infections as a child, and also delivers beautiful sounds and thought-provoking words into my head and my heart while I walk.
I walk, I listen, I watch the other walkers, I watch the dogs roaming free, I watch the birds soaring even freer, I watch the fog slowly rolling back to where it came from, way out there in its lair in the deep Pacific, revealing the green hills and homes that cover them. I imagine the people living in those homes, filling their coffee cups, making their way to their balconies to watch the fog roll back while I walk beneath it. I sense a presence coming up behind me and am suddenly engulfed in teenage boys, in matching sweatshirts and bare feet, running together on the beach. They part and run on either side of me, passing me quietly and coming back together as a pack once they have safely passed me, running on. Where do they run to? What are they running from? Do their longings run as deep as mine? Does the running help to break up the longings and bring clarity to their mind? I half want to try it, but I more than half don’t. I walk on, listening, watching, feeling, always keeping an eye on the ever changing waves coming in and out, in and out, sometimes pushing me up farther into the softer sand, sometimes tempting me to come join them as they suck themselves back out, preparing for the next burst of power while they roll on and on and on and on. Ever changing, never changing, making all things new, keeping all things the same.
I climb the soft dune and I sit, letting my breath come back to normal. I sit until the moisture in the air has become so thick, that my hair has puffed to twice its normal size and I can’t run my fingers through it. I sit until the next song is gone and it takes most of the longing with it. I stand and turn toward the parking lot and the little green car that will take me home where my computer and an unfinished budget await.