Posts tagged oceans

Night Sky

She sat in the dim light of the moon and stars, looking – no- pondering the thoughts that entered her mind as she thought of the memories that the scene brought to her.

It was a summer night at the beach. She and her father had brought towels and laid in the sand, listening to the thunder of the waves and the sharp wind It made talking nearly impossible. They had simply, quietly taken in the majesty of the night sky against the backdrop of the wild yet calming ocean.

She was fifteen and her mother had died of cancer three months before. In what he had thought was a futile effort to help her heal, her dad had brought her to the place. It had been her favorite place to spend with her mom. His friends had thought that he was crazy, opening that wound and watching it bleed, but he knew better, had experienced something much like it in his young years.

She felt his strong hand grip hers and hold it gently as tears flowed down her cheeks and rolled onto the towel. He let her lie there until she sat up and picked up the box. In it were her mother’s ashes. He stood up and grabbed her hand to help her stand.

He took the box and they walked hand in hand to the edge of the water where the tide was going out. He lifted the lid from the box and they each gently took a small portion of ashes, strewing them into the waves.

“I love you, mom,” she whispered. “Julie, you were my life’s great love.” Dad said quietly as he, too scattered some ashes. Dad handed her the box and she let out a pain-filled poignant yell as she twirled and let the rest of the ashes float away in the waves as they tickled her toes.

She ran into her father’s arms and sobbed. He spoke not a word. Soon, they were walking down the shore with the midnight stars sparkling above them.

No, it didn’t heal her pain, but it allowed he to share it with the only other person who was hurting as much as she was. Forever, this would be a sacred place. One that they would visit often, maybe light a candle and sit and cry.

Her father knew that sharing grief was even more important than sharing joy. Even though the ashes and the ocean brought back his own grief of his father’s death in Viet Nam, he remembered how his mom had put aside her pain to let him have a time, a place to remember him and their days together.

They walked into thee darkness together, a cloud covering up the fullness of the moon.

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Island Memories

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Walking on the island shore at night always held a fascination for me, especially with my young teen. We would walk along, watching as the lights on shore glimmered off the amazing expanse of water all around is. It was one of those moments that needed no words, the feelings, the magic, spoke for itself.

He reached down and picked up something, turned to me, held it up and smiled. It was a whole conch con, shimmering in the starlight. Wow! I said, as we walked on. I will never forget that night. It is burnt into my soul. A tear runs down my cheek even now. It was the last night we ever spent on the beach together.

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Brave Souls

I felt my whole body shiver as the wind pushed me towards the white cliff only yards ahead.

It was early September, and unlike the beaches I was accustomed to back in South Carolina, the white emptiness seemed to swallow me up as I looked out upon the vast sea that separated me from my home.

“Why had I come here?” I asked myself as I turned quickly towards what I felt was more steady ground.

“What had drawn me from my home, still summer-like, warm and welcoming, back to this dreary place where so much had happened in the years long past?”

 I felt the wind whip my hair, just as it did on the beaches at home, and tied it in a knot, so as not to find it filled with tangles. Back home, my curls would have danced in the heat of the sun, the glimmer of sand in the early evening sparkling like diamonds amidst the scattered shells.

I wondered what they called this place where the earth dropped off so violently to the sea. I could not, for the life of me, remember. Surely, it couldn’t be called ‘a beach’, as we called it back home. There was no beach, no glistening sand, no shells or sharks teeth to pick up as souvenirs. Only a harsh, sharp shrub, blown towards the sea, like a withered old man.

I felt my scarf swirl around my neck as I headed down the winding trail to the hut made of stone and partially covered by a roof of thatched straw and branches. The memories rushed back to me as the shadow from the house made the chill of the wind even stronger.

I remembered clinging to my mother’s hand as she ran down this trail when she saw father trudging up the hillside from the pasture below. I could almost smell the pot of steaming soup on the stove and the worn table and benches where we would sit and eat, the five of us, thankful that there was anything to eat at all.

Only then, looking upon my father’s gravestone, did I realize why my mother had taken her three little girls past that grave one last night, then loaded our sparse belongings onto to wagon with the echo of the horses hooves beneath us. We traveled for hours it seemed, towards the rivers’ edge and then boarding the ship, momma holding onto us as if we were made of glass.

 It was both the loss of hope and the search for something better that drove my momma into that shipyard that cold night. It was her strength and courage that found us living in a warm cabin across the endless sea that had given us what we had now.

I was filled with admiration for her brave soul, her staunch determination, as she made her way to that new land. I looked across the sea to America, to opportunity, to home.

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