Sunday, November 18, 2007

hello old friend

The sun kept the rain at bay today so headed west to visit an old friend. The beach is still there, just where I left it, always changing and ever constant. Everyone abandons the beach November, I don't know why. Its beauty is not diminished by the falling mercury. To me, it is even lovelier this time of year. The sharpness of the air keeps the crowds away and it is quiet enough to hear the waves talk to the shore, quiet enough to notice sunlight on rocks and driftwood.

As soon as I stepped onto the beach, coffee in one hand, book in the other lines from Yates started running through my head. "This is no country for old men. . . . /and so I have sailed the seas and come /to the holy city of Byzantium." This place is my waking lullaby, these rocks, this sand. It is like stepping into the warm embrace of an old friend, a dear friend. And it happens every time.

Everyone has their own soul space, that place where you feel closest to God and this is mine. In the last line of the film version of The Prince of Tides Nick Noltes' character says, "Every day as I cross the bridge that will take me home I say three words. I say them as repentance, as praise and as a prayer. I say Lowenstein, Lowenstein." I often think of that at this beach, it feels like a place for repentance, praise and prayer. Maybe I feel closer to God there simply because it looks so much like Heaven.But it is more than that. Over the years I have come here to celebrate and also to mourn. I have come with friends and alone, in joy and in loneliness. It was at this beach six years ago when Kendra causally said "I think you should move in with us" and I stepped into my first family since leaving Mom & Dad's. This little stretch of beach far away from the busy pier and the fish and chips shops and boutique spas has laid a claim on me. I feel its pull, like the moon calling back the tide. And each time I go back I swear I can hear it whisper "hello old friend".