February 2, 2015 9:33 AM
A great blue heron soars gracefully down the beach, landing next to a fisherman setting up his poles in the sand as the pre-dawn sky slowly brightens.
Like the heron, I stand there and watch, waiting patiently for something. Unlike the great bird, what I wait for isn’t so concrete as a scrap of bait from the fisherman’s kit. What I wait for is something far more subtle. Something unknown.
She has pulled me here—gotten me out of bed at this ungodly hour and dragged me to the beach—but I don’t know why.
So I stand in the soft, cool sand… and I wait.
A young couple lean against the railing on the boardwalk above, arms wrapped around each others waist, murmuring softly—happy and comfortable and alive.
I stroll over to the fisherman, his eyes red and bloodshot from a lack of sleep—the Super Bowl I suppose—and he tells me that the heron appears every morning, and every morning he tosses him a piece of bait.
Like the couple above, the fisherman and the heron have a relationship, an unspoken promise binding each other.
Like both couples, I too have a similar relationship, but mine is far more subtle—more intimate—I have a relationship with the Divine.
I stand there, listening to the light surf while the fisherman—comfortably lost in his thoughts—gazes silently at the horizon.
I nod to his poles sticking up in the sand, “Your lines aren’t out?” It is hard to tell in the early light.
“No,” he replies, “I’m waiting for the tide to change. A few minutes now. Soon.”
I turn back to the sea and think about this, about how tides are cyclical in nature and how some tides are more conducive to fishing than others. How outward flowing tides—high to low—pull the bait out to sea and thus are good for beach fishing, while inward flowing tides are better for other things—more active things. Surfing perhaps… and swimming.
I walk back to the parking lot, intent on washing the sand from my bare feet, but a homeless man arrives at the shower just ahead of me, strips down to his shorts and begins to bathe.
I smile and nod to him, he needs the flowing water more than I—he appreciates it more—and walk over to my rig and brush the sand off as best I can and drive to a coffee shop where so many people give me the push/pull double-take thing that I check my appearance in a mirror.
I look the same to me.
But somehow, I feel different.
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