The earth was frozen here this morning, and as I walked along the sand at the ocean’s edge, I didn’t leave footprints. I moved along as if on pavement, and so I moved along quite a while despite the freezing temperatures and the winds from the northwest. The water was relatively calm, and it seemed almost an effort for the waves to run too far past the break. A few fishing boats moved out from the inlet, and several dolphins barely broke the surface fifty yards out.
This is my constant. This is any time of my life standing here in December, too early for the sun, watching some planet just above the horizon dim then fade to a brightening sky.
We are inundated with information, and most of it is negative, or contradictory, or frightening, or simply pathetic. From presidential tweets to congressional shenanigans, to civil-war-like partisanship, to murders and terrorism, to racism and hypocritical judgments; to financial fears for graduate students, middle class workers, young graduates, seniors on fixed incomes; to the awakening of brave women exposing the horrific trend in society of men—particularly those in positions of power—to blatantly or subtly offend others. My mind is saturated with information, and little of it is positive, none of it is healthy.
And the worst part of all of this is the lies and backstabbing. It has filtered down (or started, perhaps?) to the workplace. I swear to anyone who doesn’t understand, it has become impossible to know who to trust right in my own hallway.
What a hell of a race. Honestly, I simply cannot wrap my head around how a species with such potential can be so destructive on so many levels, from ridicule to greed to mass-annihilation. What the hell happened? Really, if God’s coming back, now’s good. Is God already here? Is that why no footprints in the sand this morning? I hope not; I truly would be quite disappointed to know that. I prefer this mess we have made is all from freewill. I can believe in that. Still, there doesn’t appear to be a plan, does there?
I understand this is an oversimplified view of world events and situations, and an idealistic reaction concerning what we are capable of. In fact, it crosses decidedly into triteness.
But one of the tenants of productive human behavior is to surround yourself with positive people, to step away from the negative ones, the complainers. To remain healthy, creative people should engage with other creative types, and planners and visionaries should be working toward new advances with other like-minds. Of course. But these like-minded individuals are getting harder to find. Or maybe—maybe—they’re still out there, they’re just harder to recognize for the cloud of unknowing coming from the media, from the meetings, from the droves of people speaking out of both sides of their mouths.
Perhaps I’m just tired. For the most part it has been a long, bad year. I just turned in my final grades and was reading some blogs here, and I thought how negative I’d become this year, how, well, tired I’ve become. On this blog I tried to justify writing about the college and politics and the world at large by noting that it is all a “wilderness.”
Until, that is, I stepped off the boardwalk and moved to the waves which didn’t make it much past the break, and the sand was firm like pavement, and my feet didn’t even leave imprints, and the cold wind coming from the northwest kept me decidedly in the moment. It all seems predetermined out there. When was the last time you went for a walk outside in very cold weather? Not to the car, or from the car to the mall. I mean a walk without destination, absent of headlines and voting results. It is the ultimate in the immediate; it remains the only evidence of permanence I can find.
Out on the horizon this morning, well before the sun broke through, some thin clouds ran the length to the south like jib sails running out front heading to the Outer Banks just to the south. The water was warmer than the air, and sea birds kept diving by me as I walked hoping I had food. One landed near my feet disturbing a few sandpipers I was sneaking past.
The pier is closed for the season, and the lights running down the boardwalk were still on so I could clearly see no one was around but a few military out for an early run. One old man wrapped tight in a parka walked his dog.
But at the water’s edge all I could hear was water, and even that so gently I could sometimes also hear the dolphins’ fins break the surface. It was that calm. No hypocrisy. No backstabbing or negativity. It is the ultimate definition of truth. It remains the most honest experience I have found.
And so I came to work and I turned in my grades. It is time to head back to my small patch of woods at the river.
You’d be surprised. There’s so much to be done. “Count all the bees in the hive. Chase all the clouds from the sky.”