Even the sun didn’t want to be on the beach. It peeped out from between the clouds at random intervals, as if it was checking to see if the coast was clear. Maybe the sun needed some quiet time, I know I did.
I decided to walk anyways. My days at the beach are limited, and I tend to suck the enjoyment from each one like a parched pre-schooler slurping a perfect purple popsicle.
The breeze off the water toyed with me. It vascillated between cold enough to make your nose run, to the skin warming heat that makes me wonder if I am part lizard. I took my shoes off and slung them over my shoulder.
The beach was empty. I headed towards the sun, hoping it might get a bit warmer a few steps closer- it didn’t. However, I walked without dodging sun bathers or sandcastles, both had been chased away by the dodgy weather. I had the beach to myself.
I listened to the birds. I slipped my hoodie on and off to soak up all the sun I could as it peeped out at me. It was a game of solar hide and seek. I watched as waves rolled in and out. I felt the cool, wet sand give way under my feet as I walked. My toes wriggled and dug deeper- loving the freedom of walking without shoes.
At some point- before I reached the waters edge, I turned around. But, something made me stop, and look back. I had to have one more peek at the beach. When I saw my footprints, they showed a sharply etched, relief map of where I’d been. They showed how fast and how slowly I had walked by how deeply they cut into the sand. I noticed an arc depicting the exact point where I’d turned around.
The map of my path made me wonder- “Why had turned around? Had I missed something by stopping the walk too soon? Should I have continued on? “ I wasn’t too cold- or too hot, I wasn’t tired or running out of time.. I could have kept going. I had simply, turned around.
All these months later– I wish I had kept walking. I miss the beach. I miss the sand and the sun. It’s now April, and in Michigan, the sun shines without much heat. The wind stings at the waters edge and steals away the fun of solar hide and seek.
I found this picture this morning– it’s from that walk. Looking at it I can feel the hide and seek sun on my skin. I can hear the gulls in my mind. I can hear the sound of the waves breaking gently, on the shore. I remember my feelings and the surroundings. I can replay the tape in my mind. And then- in an arc- it ends, again. Again- for no real reason.
I wish it didn’t. Next time- I will walk until I can’t walk anymore. Next time I will keep going. Every day on the beach is a gift. Whether the sun shines full or plays hide and seek.
I wonder how many other paths I’ll someday look back at and wish I had continued on. They won’t all be etched in the sand, but they will be etched in memory. I don’t want to look back and regret having turned around, too soon.
Dear Lord- give me courage and strength to continue on the path you set before me- whether the sun shines or is hidden, whether the wind stings or warms. Help me to keep walking and not turn around unless it’s by your direction. I don’t want to someday look back and wonder why Id turned around..Help me to bask in your light and soak up all I need- I love you lord- and delight in walking with you- amen.