Friday, September 26, 2014
I found myself back at the beach where I find peace from the world. I went on the opposite side of Coney Island beach than where I usually visit. It was easier to walk on the sand, it was leveled and not as hilly. I put my cane in my book bag as I began my walk. I noticed that walking without the cane is okay with the exception that I feel off balanced. I see that in pictures of me standing up. I lean which I don’t like, but it’s understandable. Something is missing, a part of me is missing. I lean for many reasons. Often times it’s not physical. I joke saying my body is a geologic map, because like the Earth it’s always changing. My body is always changing. So is my spirit. Despite the leaning, I still walk forward. Walking along the shoreline distracts me from thinking about my appearance. I just don’t worry about it. As far as I’m concerned, I am one with nature. I enjoy watching the seagulls walk along or follow me. I like watching the ocean and the seashells wash up shore. I came prepared with my plastic bags to pick seashells. I’m trying to gather as much as I can before winter comes. I collect as well as use them for crafting. The more odd shaped they are, the more I like them.
When I walk along the shoreline, I reflect a lot. I think about things especially about life and love. I separate the two since they both play different roles in my life. Lately, neither have made me happy. However, I am here so I have no choice but to think about them. I am disappointed and at times I feel short changed. Why don’t I have the things I want and most of all need? I continue walking. I think about this journey and its hardships. I think about my loneliness. I love, at times in love, and don’t know where it will go if anywhere. It doesn’t change what’s in my heart. It doesn’t change what my spirit tells me. I am afraid of knowing, yet I am curious about the unknown. Time goes by. I wait and I keep walking. The shoreline changes quickly so I try to capture it. My phone is overwhelmed with images, sometimes with video. I made a couple of videos. My phone definitely slowed down afterwards. I kept walking.
I stopped by this wooden thing, I think it was part of the rocky jetty. It was filled with green plant life that I didn’t know what to make of it. I put my bag of shells on it to organize my book bag. I already had a bag filled with shells already. An older gentleman approached me with his fishing rod and vest/jacket in hand. By his gesture, I thought he wanted to put his stuff where my shells were. When I went to take the bag away, he said something. I took off my headphones when he said, “Oh no, may I see your seashells?” I said, “Sure” and he took a look. He asked me if I collect seashells, and I said yes. Another man approached us and listened. His dog was nearby with a stick in its mouth. The gentleman said that the whole clams make “good bait.” He then smiled and looked at the man. The man, who could be in his mid to late 30s, said there isn’t a lot of whole clam shells around. He then looked at me and smiled, “Are you looking for the whole ones?” The gentleman waved bye and walked away.
I smiled at the man and replied, “It really doesn’t matter to me. I use them for crafting and I collect too.” The stranger seemed surprised and said, “Oh yea?” As we smiled, I told him I wouldn’t mind finding whole shells but don’t see any around. I asked if he collected them and he said, “No, usually collect them to make the woman’s jewelry.” His dog moaned indicating that he wanted the man to throw the stick. When he did, the dog happily ran after it as he continued talking to me. He explained that during high tide in the area we stood, whole clam shells wash up along the jetty. He suggested I stay for another hour since that’s when the tide is at its peak. The time was after 3 o’clock. I thanked him and he smiled saying “You’re welcome, bye bye.” Before I walked away, I put the bag of shells in my bag, and looked at my phone. The man came back. “I’m sorry, do you have an extra bag?” I said sure and gave him one. I had plenty. He then walked away and moments later he returned.
“I’m sorry to keep bothering you…” I smiled, “Oh no bother at all.” He held out his hands. In them were two whole clam shells. “I found these for you.” I smiled so hard thanking him. He smiled back and said, “Now you can add these to your collection. Have a good day.” I felt honored, because he went into the water to find those shells. Also, he didn’t have to do that, and lastly, he was just sweet. It’s been years since I spoke about nature to a man. I could have skipped towards the boardwalk that’s how happy I felt. In that moment, he made me feel like a lady. I hardly ever get approached by anyone, and if I do it’s usually not a good experience. This handsome stranger made me feel pretty, pretty in my element. A rare experience I will cherish.
When I got on the boardwalk, I took out the cane and walked. I regained my balance. This is a day by day process. Despite how I feel, know I have to keep walking.