We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
-- Charles Kingsley

Shell Island

Shell Island

Shell Island
Watching her on the beach from this shady balcony...
I don't deserve this lifestyle. And seldom appreciate it enough.
She loves the sun.
She loves the ocean.
She'll be another race by nightfall.
She'll be renewed by nightfall.
Well have some time at nightfall

The waves are hypnosis, thunder and magnetism.
I'm drawn to either the balcony or the beach itself constantly.
My body at 33,
can't compete anymore with all this surf, sand, seashells,cross currents.
My northern pale skin resents the sun and the brown blessing it's given its worshippers.
But the music,
The music.
That roar is so constant so reassuring. Go to sleep, go to sleep....I'll still be here in the morning. Maybe a little farther out from this evening's shell strewn path, but there, nonetheless.
Just cross the old and walk out to see what new treasure I've brought you in the night.
Come quickly. I'll soon cover it all over again.

Yes, we could live here. White beaches and mermaid foam. I might even spend time


Imagine that.

It's a dream and little more right now.
Right now.
Right now she doesn't love me
or does she? Where's a damn daisy
when U need 1?
Im having trouble loving myself
I dont wanna be

Old at 33.
Old at 33.

Walking the beach Wednesday nite (when my walkman decided to swim in the ocean) I thought about how lovely it is. How inspirational. I kicked holes in the sand & in the water and watched how quickly it forgave me, forgot I ever existed. I stalked gulls who could only take off from the beach while aimed into the wind, aiming at me (how bold, how desperate). I contemplated giving my walkman to the sea now that the water had impregnated it with sand and salt and other sea jism. I clipped it, instead, by its not-so-good clip back onto my belt and strode on, dangling my shoes in my right hand, refraining from indulging this urge to dance wildly along the shore (what would all these people I don't know & will surely NEVER see again think!!?). I fantasized about how fine it might be to have D here Friday on the beach with me. I thought of telling her on the phone about how the Julia Roberts movie Sleeping With The Enemy was filmed right up there on the beach north of the resort. How they built that huge, stunning house, then tore it down and raked it away after the film was complete. Then I decided I'd just SHOW her the place when she got here....

If I'm on a walk like that & am thinking about the exercise or on what I have to do after the walk, I notice only the effort: time, pace, distance, goals, whatever. Hardly ever the scenery, sights, smells, sounds and rhythms... If I notice the scenery, I may just get lost in thought and forget the walk.

But the walk is not so important.

The experience of it is why we're here.

The heart is not so important as the heart-beat.
The bottle is not so important as the EMPTINESS that makes its usefulness, its contents, possible.
The plan is not quite so important as what actually happens.

A kid was eating a candy bar or something yesterday and a gull swept down and snatched it right out of his hand.
Imagine that. That gull might get fat.
The kid was really pissed.
But he shouldn't be.
When he goes home he can tell his friends.
He can tell for years about the gull that swiped his snack.
He can reminisce with his folks in years to come about how scary and infuriating it was at the time.
What would they remember about it if the gull hadn't come along?
What would he tell friends about his trip if the gull had not participated in his vacation?
"Guess what? I ate a Hershey bar at Shell Island..."??? Ha! Who cares, kid?
Now he has a tale.
And having a tale is vital.

If you go through life thinking about life instead of living it, you miss it.
I do that, you know,
so listen:

Spending your life concentrating on work, on money, on
what-I'll-do-later-when-this-or-that-happens does just that:

It spends your life.

Today gets used up by tomorrow. Yet
there is no tomorrow.
How can we be so foolish?
Meanwhile, the gull is out snatching someone else's candy bar.
Giving someone else
the tale to be told.

Yeah, but a least I got the candy bar.

Big deal.
I'm tired of having the candy bar.
I want the freakin' sea gull story.

I want to live without thinking about
I want to walk without thinking about
I want to notice the scenery,
get lost in the music and mayhem
what my daughters say to me.
LIVE like there's no tomorrow.

Because there isn't, you know.
Oh sure, there are bills to pay, college to afford.
But Id wish to find my wife's hand in mine on the beach at sunrise.
Make love with her on this balcony.
Get drunk with her at Sloppy Joe's in Key West and fall in love again at sunset.

I want to "punch the clock" when it's time to go home
and forget I have a job the moment I walk out the door.
I want to love living and not just eat & work & buzz my way through today like some kind of locust, hoping tomorrow will be better, happier, richer, brighter.

Living the norm begats the norm. Living the edge begats a life sliced by that edge. Good & bad, but surely better. The tale is what we're after.

I want to take my children to places none of us has been.

I want them to meet & know God in this world without becoming fundamentalist, automaton, narrow-minded and fear-filled (I want them to understand the story of the sheep & the goats).

I want to forget the walk. Enjoy the scenery.
Hike, maybe, but not with focus on the doing:
focus on the BEING.

Live not with focus on the living, but on the being. We are here NOW.
Will we be here 5 minutes from NOW?
5 hours 5 days 5 weeks.
5 years will flow like minutes if I continue to focus on making my living, on what I'm gonna be or do or how we're gonna get to be what we wanna be.

We are already what we wanna be, or we'd be something else.

Everything else is a dream.
Let it go.

The minutes are ticking. God has the fast forward button in his or her hand. If you aren't doing
anything interesting, God just might push the button.

All of a sudden
you have a daughter in college.
Did you get to know her and her friends in the past 5 years or did you struggle with the job-the-bills-the-groceries-the-fights-the-lost-forgotten-dreams-of-your-own-childhood-angst-bullshit?
Watch it!
she's growing fast.
Do you criticize her and concentrate on discipline
& whether or not she's what you want her to be?

Did you blame her for being brunette and brown--eyed? Did you blame her for being a girl?
Of course not!
How ludicrous
she has no control over those things.
Did you blame her for being strong-willed and stubborn?
Did you blame her for wanting to be independent of you?
Did you blame her for trying to make her own life instead of the life you've imagined?

Or did you thank God for this unique life.
This one in a hundred billion or more.
This chance to get to know another being In whose creation you were
fortunate enough to
play some small part?

Forgiveness and love.
Esteeming those you love higher than yourself.
Radical, free expression of that love.
Hmm. That's the hard part.

Yeah. But without that part there are no others.

They don't become your friends by wishful thinking.
They don't bond to you while you're busy thinking about life.
They don't grow to be tolerant, open-minded, loving people while being judged and harshly
spoken to in their own homes.

Dont let it be like that.

You should know better.

It's not the walk
It's the scenery.
I don't want the candy bar.
I really, really want that sea-gull story.

Go see your bride on the beach, you idiot.
(From June 1994 Journal)

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