A minus tide forecast for Deception Pass is like a siren’s call to a sailor lost at sea, at least to me; the magnetic pull is almost irresistible. And yet something about the planned end of summer outing caused me to wake in the middle of the night and declare to my spouse that
I would stay home this day. Caught between the need to wander the shore and the guilt producing weight of things left undone, I became paralyzed. My husband provided a way out. “Think of it as a bookend… something we need to do to mark the end of summer.”
It is this same husband who loves to do “together…alone” as much as I do. When the tides call us, we walk the beach access path a short way together, but once at the shore, we go our separate ways – he to meander the rock strewn sand above water line and me to cross the slippery algae draped stones to the exposed sandbars, shoes in hand, to walk the wave line.
Once safely across the hazardous rock beds this day, I padded through the
cold, gentle waves that rolled across the sand bar with a chorus of squawking gulls as accompaniment. I remembered that the last time I walked this shore, I had stopped to write a love note with a piece of driftwood on these sands for songwriter, friend, and mentor Jimmy Yessian. After finishing that day, I took a photo and texted it to his phone with the message, “thinking of you,” as I contemplated his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Today, as I walked this shore, I thought about writing a note again, one that would now mark his passing. Gazing across the sea, I thought about his life and the legacy of his deep well of love and compassion which he lavishly shared with all of us who were thirsty.
Lulled into contemplation by the waves caressing this shore, it is impossible to not think about life… in all its beauty and all its complexity and all its sorrow. This ocean, so vast…our lives so complicated and intertwined. I watched the waves as they lifted and swelled, providing glimpses of soaked wood and debris. Much like us, I thought, they too had lived out their purpose and then, battered by storms and tossed in the wind, had come to this shore for their final journey’s rest.
And yet, as soon as the comparison arrived, it was crowded out by this truth:
Though we travel these waters, we are not like flotsam and jetsam at the mercy of a capricious sea.
Every microscopic drop of this sea was spoken into existence. Every drop of this sea was created with a purpose. And every drop of this sea was being led home…by forces too deep to comprehend.
Standing there gazing at the rolling sea, I recalled a surfer I once met on the North Shore of Oahu who said he loved to surf because he was able to ride a wave that had traveled
across the sea and was now taking its last breath before reaching the shore.
My friend Jimmy has ridden that wave’s last breath. Once he had been a single drop falling from a water filled sky. He had journeyed down the mountain in the rush of gravity and flooded into the sea. He had intermingled in a vast sea of humanity, changing the course of the drops around him. He had been battered and tossed by storms, but he had been held and guided by Love greater than his own.
And now he was home.