Tossed

Yesterday a sea of frothing white. I drove down to my usual stretch of sand to read and indulge in further browning of the skin. I had hoped the wind might die, as some late mornings it will do. But it’s ferocity could not be assuaged, no matter what historical patterns I thought the wind might follow. Intense, driving blasts upsetting the water surface, while an army of the tiniest particles of gnat-like sand swept over logs and sunbathers. Nearly everyone on the beach sat in it for an hour, like me, until we realized all equanimity would be suspended for the day.

I took a drive further down the coast and up against the edge of the steep hills behind Elkhorn Slough, thinking I might sit here at the water’s edge to eat lunch, read, and watch the seals and birds that inhabit the shallow inland body of salt water. There was no abating here of the wind either. The rippled water surface seemed to suppress all the marvelous marine life that comes here for sanctuary.

I must learn and learn again the sanctuary of my own neighborhood, tucked just a little ways out of the main channels of living. My drive home in the mid-afternoon from the slough was memorable, the opportunity to practice patience and mindfulness for a period of time that I had not anticipated. Four wrecks on the highway at once, two in southbound lanes and two in the north, caused these long strings of cars to stop, or creep very slow, for perhaps fifteen miles. The drive that would normally take me ten or fifteen minutes went on for more than an hour.

As I drive up to my mailbox beside the road, I pull the door down to check for any new correspondence. Seldom do I find anything within but spam in paper form or bills to pay. Today the mail lady has managed to cram a big fat book of the poetry of Derek Walcott into my box. Late afternoon, I’m home and free of the grasp of the wind and the traffic. I know the subject of some of his poetry is Caribbean hurricanes, but I won’t read them today. I’ve already been tossed around.

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