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July 21, 2004 - Wednesday, 3:50 p.m.

Mental Trips to the Beach... a must

During a particularly hard day for a friend of mine, we took a ‘mental’ trip to the beach. I set myself up as ‘she’, set the scene and my friend and I had a nice conversation at the beach.

A Trip to the Ocean

I pull on your arm and points to a soft sandy beach.

Looking up you notice a white sand beach. Off to the right the beach sweeps out to a point covered with dark green cypress trees perched on the hilltop overlooking the ocean. You see that you are in a small, quiet cove. Two blue striped lawn chaises are set in the sand with a large blue and white umbrella creating a pool of shade around the two chairs.

“Come on!” I pull you out into the sand towards the chairs. As you get closer you see a small table between the two chairs. A bright red drink with a little yellow umbrella sits to one side and a tall clear glass of ice water on the other.

You sit down next to the fruity drink and dig your toes into the cool sand.

You sigh softly as you bury your toes into the sand. You close your eyes and lean back. “The sun feels good. I so need to relax and clear my head.” You take a sip from your fruity drink. “They really know how to make a good fruit mix here.”

“Oh ya,” I smile as I close my eyes. You can hear the crisp crashing sound of the waves against the sandy beach. The deep blue sky softly kisses the ocean at the horizon, soft wispy clouds are gathering at the horizon off to the south beyond the point. The wind is blowing softly and the sun bakes the sand just beyond your toes.

“I could sit here all day,” I pick up my glass of ice water and stares at the waves crashing on the beach. “This is a beautiful spot.”

“There is wisdom in the voice of the waves,” you sigh, “I wonder if their secret for peace and calm is discoverable?”

“Ah...” I say, “the ocean is deep and powerful and full of mystery. It is full of Life and yet so many secrets buried deep beneath the waves. It is ancient and yet each wave is a new movement in its vastness.” The wind picks up some and whispers secrets in the branches of the cypress trees. The wispy clouds at the horizon have begun to build towards the heavens promising rain upon an ocean that thirsts not. Up the beach to the north you hear the barking of a dog that is rushing the waves as they ebb out to the ocean, and then turns and runs before the new waves building in the cove can crash on the sand.

You watch the dog play, and smile wistfully. “Now I never thought I would see the day I was envious of the innocence of a puppy.” You smile softly. “I wonder if it would help if I chased the waves. I wonder if I would be able to convince them to hand over at least one secret, the secret of the perpetual. Hmm now that would be a thought.” You lean back and close your eyes. “I love the feeling of the cool breeze and warm sun.”

“Yes... it is lovely, isn't it?” I said. “Nothing like a little warmth on the skin and sunlight to brighten the mood is there. The ocean never ceases to amaze and calm one does it.” Soft music filters to you from a house in the cypress trees behind you. The wind has died down, and only the sound of the waves and some distant thunder break the silence. Off on the horizon the white puffy clouds have grown dark never the ocean horizon and distant flashes of lightening brighten the dark sky in the distance. Over head the blue sky smiles down on you and you close your eyes again.

“Wow, now that is a beautiful show. I love lightening over the ocean,” You sigh deeply. “When you sit here and look at the endless waves... the dark clouds which will start arguing soon, it is difficult to see beyond that horizon.” You take a sip of your drink. “Hmmm, I am getting hungry. But I feel too mellow to move!” You smile at me. “Maybe I am not that hungry after all.”

I chuckles softly to myself, open one eye and glance at you. “Why do you think I picked this spot?” You smile and raise one eyebrow. I glance back towards the house in the cypress. “They'll be down shortly with dinner. Or we can go up to the house and check out the dinner menu.” I sit forward on the chair and rest my elbows on my knees and peer out at the ocean. The darkness at the horizon is beginning to creep towards the cypress out on the point. The sun, a deep vibrant red, has dropped to the horizon straight west of the beach, just north of the bank of thunderstorms. Purple and blue strands of clouds stretch to the north and impeding darkness.

You smile slowly, “you know? A sunset is never the same way twice. Purple, reds, pinks, all of those colors that would normally look like a mess when next to each other, but a sunset,” you sigh quietly, “blends it all perfectly.” You hug your knees to your chest. “I still have not discovered any secrets. I wonder if the night sky will reveal herself to me?” You gaze up at the darkening sky.

I nod to you and add my sigh to the evening air. “Oh... what a wonderful idea! They'll bring down something for dinner and we can just sit here and watch the moon rise behind us and the stars come out. Perhaps something will come to us.” I smile contently. As the sun sinks into the deep blue ocean it is almost as though you can hear it sizzle as it looks to be extinguished. The deep pinks slowly turn to lavender and the lavenders to blue. Glancing over your shoulder you notice that the full moon is already up over the cypress, waiting to cast a silver light across the beach as soon as the remaining light from the sun drifts off to sleep.

You perk up a bit, “that sounds lovely! Oh, dinner by the light of the full moon. How mysterious and totally energizing that will be!” You lean back. “I wonder what is for dinner. Did they say? I am getting pretty hungry.” You stare at the dark sky. “It's amazing to me that all of a sudden there are the stars. How I wish that all of a sudden there was the solution, just not seen by the bright waves of the sun.” You lean forward and hug your knees to your chest while staring thoughtfully at the waves crashing on the shore.

“I think I read that it is grilled chicken breast, garlic roasted red potatoes and a fruit salad.” I smile at you and take another sip of ice water. A non descript older gentleman makes his way down the path from the cypress trees expertly balancing a tray in one hand and grasping a small folded round table in the other. Deftly setting up the table next to the smaller table with the drinks, he silently sets down two plates with silver covers. Smiling at you, he replaces the warming drinks with fresh ones and quietly heads back up to the house in the trees.

You join in. “Mmmm.. yes very good.”

For while, there is little sound but the soft clinking of silverware and the crashing of the waves on the beach the fill the night air. I glance over to see that you've finished eating and are again staring at the waves. Dimming the small lantern hanging from the umbrella the beach goes dark for a moment and then you begin to notice that the silver light of the moon has caused the white sand to glow and turned the ocean to liquid silver crashing on the beach. To the south, at the horizon, the eerie blue flashes of lightening are beginning to abate.

You sigh quietly. “How beautiful and quiet it all is.” You turn to me. “How do I capture that peace and let it over take me?”

“If I really knew the answer to that I would be rich beyond the dreams of Avarice. However,” I smile at you as I make myself more comfortable in the chair. “I think allowing the serenity of this spot to seep into your limbs and mind and perhaps into your very soul... helps… Somehow. The vastness of the ocean, its ancient power, makes me see my life and my being as a very small piece of eternity and perhaps in that same breath, makes the very small piece of my life that is a torment at this moment but a small splash of paint in the canvas of my life or a single drop in the immensity of the ocean.” The full moon is high overhead, and the wind begins to pick up. The silver stars twinkle is the ebony sky and flicker in the dark shadows of the waves.

You chew your lip thoughtfully, “The Ocean is vast and deep, and yes it does put trials and tribulations into a certain perspective.” You sigh and lean back comfortably and then smile quietly. “How can I lose faith with all this beauty about?” You sigh, “I guess I must look deep into the well of my strength and scrape up what I can to get by.”

I drag a soft blanket out of a bag under the table and snuggle underneath it. More eerie blue flashes of light begin to appear in the southern sky. Another storm is drifting in from the ocean.

“Some day’s faith feels very elusive,” I reflect quietly, “It's easy to have faith in the sun rising or setting, or to have faith that after the next storm the sun will reappear. However some days it's hard to imagine that our path is going to get any easier or our vision of the future any clearer. How does one hold on to faith that things will get better, that we'll be able to breath a little easier one day? Those are tough questions... with mystifying answers. I guess I just keep telling myself I have to believe it'll get better and some how it will...”

You smile pensively, “Yes that does make sense.” You quietly stare at the storm that is rolling in with flashes of light. “I could sit here forever. Watching that storm, the battle it will soon have with the ocean. Why do they battle I wonder? Or perhaps I see it as battle when in all reality it is a dance of two very different partners.”

You ring a little bell. “I hope they have hot chocolate to fight off the chill. I do not want a blanket as the breeze makes me feel alive. Alive when sometimes I see my world as if they were those clouds, ready for battle.”

You lean back. “I do not have the strength right now for another fight....”

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