It’s been raining today on the island. I went for my morning walk a little later than usual. The girls had asked us to wake them up so they could go for a run while Neal and I took our walk. Not the best idea, in retrospect. I found myself getting pulled into a long conversation about the day. As expected, the girls are less than excited about the prospect of a rainy day.
I find myself going down a familiar path; trying to make them happy and help them discover the gift of a rainy day; not the easiest task with two sixteen-year-olds.
I feel my mood changing and I stop in my tracks. It doesn’t have to be this way today. The girls are old enough to be alone and find their way through this morning. This is their big chance to practice that independence they’ve been talking about lately.
Today, I’m making a different choice and decide to go my way.
When I’m on this island, every moment is precious. I put my raincoat on and head for the beach. Not many people here today. The water is rough and soon my shoes and pants are wet. Fine by me. One less thing to worry about. Off with the shoes. I usually walk barefoot anyway.
I spot a large piece of driftwood taken by the waves from the shore. The waves are pushing it here and there and I’m reminded of Tolkien’s words . . . “Not all who wander are lost.” This piece of driftwood seems to be left at the whim of the sea today. Soon it will find its corner of the beach to rest at. It will be transformed, smooth, whitewashed, and light. People will walk by and look at it with wonder. “How beautiful,” they’ll say. “Look at the intricacies of its bark, it feels so smooth!”
Having been battered by the sea, the piece of driftwood will finally claim its place on a stretch of sand and will bear witness to those who come by.
This beach will never look the way it looks today. The transformative power of water and shifting sand won’t allow it. Each moment is unique. That’s its nature.
My footprints are erased as soon as I make them. Each step a new step. I’m walking on the edge, where the waves meet the sand. As the landscape changes, I’m given the choice to walk on higher ground and avoid getting wet. As in life, I can decide when to engage with what comes my way. Sometimes, I don’t have a choice but more often than not, I do. Sometimes, it’s OK to avoid getting wet, if you can.
The rain becomes stronger and I pull my hood over my head. It falls low on my face and I can’t see ahead as well. I focus on what’s right in front of me. One step at a time, waves in and out, rocks and sand, seaweed, and a few broken shells. Rocks of all sizes everywhere. I lift my head to look ahead. It all looks so different than yesterday morning; clad in grey mist and falling rain.
On my way back, I take a few moments to sit on a large piece of driftwood and just be. A young couple comes by. They stop to take some pictures and soon they’re on their way. I dry my feet as best I can, shake the sand of my wet shoes, and head for the bakery. Time for a hot cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant. I may go visit the library. It looks really inviting today and I love the sign by the entrance.