Monday, September 14, 2009

A Fearsome Roar

Alas, my junior year in high school had begun. One more year and I would be off to college. Strange things happen to parents when they know their children will be gone. Perhaps even more so when this child is the last to go. Mom and Dad decided that this was the year we would take a trip to Florida. Just the three of us.

I was a terribly rebelious teen or may be just a terrible teen. I'm not sure what demons I was fighting, but most of my frustration was taken out on my parents. Bravery is the only word I can use to describe these parents willing to travel with this rebel teen.

Mom suggested that I drive most of the way. In retrospect, I'm sure that she knew that if I concentrated on the road, I couldn't spend time coming up with reasons to complain. Dad narrated the scenery and mother crocheted. We sang and actually seemed to enjoy one anothers company.

Darkness had fallen on the Atlantic when we arrived at the motel in Pompano Beach, Florida. Taking my hand, Dad lead me to the beach. Florida wasn't nearly as populated then. Dark was dark. How an entire ocean can be heard and not seen is remarkable. I was terrified. The ocean roar was like nothing I'd ever heard. Dad pulled his crying daughter to the water. For the first time I felt enormity of God. For the next few days, we searched for shells and walked miles of coastline. Walls between parents and teen had taken a holiday somewhere else.

Last month my granddaughers and I went to the beach. I packed sandpails, shovels, and kites. Our beaches are more often cold than warm; however, in recent years more and more summer days are perfect along the Pacific Northwest coast. My oldest granddaughter spent most of the time with feet in the water just looking at the ocean. The youngest busily tried to build a sandcastle with a grams who failed building construction. Finally, the time was growing late, and it was time to go home. My oldest granddaughter began to cry and continued until she could hardly talk begging me to stay. With feet in the surf and an open heart, she had fallen in love with the sea. I understood.

How can something so awesome, so terrifying, so lovely pull so strongly at our hearts? The art world adores it. Songsters praise it. And, some of us feel part of it. Perhaps it is that tidal pull that begs to call us home. Or, just maybe, we are awakened to the knowledge that our world still beacons to us to learn and to protect.

Ah, my parents were so wise. I hope I can be the same.

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