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  • breathe deeply

    A young woman looked at herself in the bathroom mirror; the choices she had made had led her to a dark place. She rose on sunny days only to see clouds and haze on the horizon. She needed to think, to breathe, to find inner peace and a new way forward. Without a second thought, she borrowed a friend's car and started driving in any direction away from home.

    Right turn, left turn, straight through uncounted intersections--she drove without taking in her location. She was startled out of a daydream-like state to recognize where her subconscious had taken her: the Causeway, a long, low toll bridge that connected the mainland to the tourist beach area. Too late to turn back, she tossed the requisite change into the bin and began to cross.

    Once on the spit, most tourists turned left to select any number of beach areas, all littered with kitschy restaurants and bars. Instead, she turned right into a protected nature reserve that was rarely visited by anyone but the most intrepid of hikers and campers. No lifeguards were to be found anywhere in this section of the beach, no Applebee's, no pubs, and the roads were prone to flooding at high tide.

    A few minutes of driving through the reserve brought her to a small parking lot. She parked the car and wondered at the situation she now found herself in. A born land-locked Northerner, she had recently learned about tides and knew that she would shortly be cut off from the main spit and at the whimsy of nature until the tide receded. No one knew where she was. It was the beach, the last area of the planet she ever wanted to visit.

    It was precisely what she wanted, what she needed.

    Picking up her sweater, she locked the car and carefully made her way toward the water. For the first time in her life, she encountered sand dunes, and she took the time to appreciate all that they were: a foundation for the spit against tidal erosion as well as a thriving ecosystem for myriad beach life forms, as well as the most beautiful Earthly creation she had ever seen. Instead of traveling farther in toward the water, she chose to rest among the dunes to watch the tide roll in and the seagulls dance. No other person wandered the beach to interrupt her musings.

    It was early evening when her stomach rumbled. The tide had dropped again and she knew it was time to go, surprised to realize so many hours had passed. It seemed as though only minutes ago she had settled in at the beach. She couldn't recall any one particular thought other than the the serenity of this place and the peace she felt settle within herself. The tides had called to her soul, and she had listened. "We are strong," they said. "You are also strong. Nothing can stand in our way."

    With the song of the crashing waves in her heart, she returned to the car and drove home, never looking back. She didn't need to--everything she ever needed to learn about life, she learned sitting quietly among the dunes and the tide, listening to and learning from the universe.


    Beav said...

    That was beautiful. And quite familiar to an old Florida boy like me.

    Soo Mi said...

    Thanks, Beav. :)