April 27, 2010
I suppose I love this because it speaks the theme of my week without abruptly saying so - STOP trying to figure it all out. START enjoying this cup of coffee. This walk underneath the spreading trees at school.
Revel in the way your father believes that you, of all people, will surely hit the ground running after graduation - and he's proud.
Wake up knowing your sheets are warm, the floor is cold, and the clean laundry in that soft green box you turned into a makeshift hamper smells like fresh soap.
Let life be. Don't thrash it to death, dammit.
During my senior year in college my girlfriend dumped me, and I turned to Bob from my men’s group for support. A librarian in his sixties, he had a soft voice and a caring disposition. I figured he’d be able to lift my spirits.
Bob lived in a cozy cabin by the shore, where I arrived expecting a cup of tea and a sympathetic ear. Instead he said, “We’re going to the beach.”
As we wove our way through the beach pines and madrone trees growing on the dunes, I started talking about how miserable I felt, but Bob just pointed into the understory, rattling off facts about the nesting habits of wrens and what warblers eat. He would stop to listen for croaking frogs and skittering chickadees, instruct me on the migration pattern of butterflies, and extol the flavors of the wild mushrooms that popped up after fall rains.
Finally we reached the water, and I confided to Bob how badly I missed my ex. He listened for a few minutes, then started talking about the tides: spring tides, neap tides, slack tides. He went on and on about the damn tides! Wasn’t I supposed to be doing the talking?
As we left the beach, Bob spoke about the beauty of shifting sand dunes, especially during big weather events. Though I was tired of his monologues, my mood had improved thanks to our walk.
A few months later I met a beautiful woman, and for our third date I took her to the beach. As we hiked across the dunes, I found myself telling her about the plants and critters.
That woman is now my wife. She says one of the things that set me apart from other men she dated was how I knew the songs of the birds and the movement of the tides.
Written by Paul Grafton, of Morro Bay, California - published in April's edition of Sun Magazine.