When We Meet

Ripples on the sand, of joy, of art…of sadness too.

I was in my sand chair as close to the water as one can be without actually being in it. I watched terns doing turns, their aerial ballets, their twists, pivots, dives, dunks, all to the music of the eternal surf.

Lone tern DSC_5248

I saw the waves break into a churn of white water then cascade to become converging ripples. Each ripple slightly different, yet all of same sea. I saw metaphor of life in the ripples, the allegory of humankind coming together…in our sea of life.

Ripples IMG_2498

There are wonderful people that converge with me at the water’s edge, they come to enjoy, to exercise, to energize, to reflect, to heal. Some recent meetings:

Even from a great distance I always recognize one woman that Cheryl and I know. It’s easy to spot her for the rhythmic resolve in her stride. She stopped by me just for a few moments, but they were communion moments. She too feels the same about our home near the sea’s edge. She was leaving for SC soon for a family reunion, but she was already looking forward to coming home. There’s no place like home.

Then a man I met said he’s on vacation from his job at Wall street. He’s been strolling the beach every day and takes it all in with much gratitude and relief. He said he was fishing with his son recently and they caught ten fish. His smile was genuine and he seemed eager to share his thoughts. He said he drinks a bit, not a lot but enough to cause hangovers that can detract from the morning’s delight. But he had stopped recently. He said he appreciated the clarity of a walk by the sea now. We agreed that life is richer when it’s unbuffered, unfiltered…without additives.

Kevin DSC_5668Kevin, a fisherman, was at the jetty. A sand hog, by trade. Sand hogs are the courageous who work as miners that bore under rock and river so that we may have tunnels and subways to aid our travels. He’s a second generation miner of tunnel. His dad dug the Roosevelt Island subway tunnel decades back. I told him I went into that dig as a Transit Cop to investigate the death of a worker who fell into the path of the drilling machine. It’s damned dangerous, that job.

Kevin has avoided the bends, an occupational hazard of the deep digs. But as coal miners get black lung, sand hogs get Silicosis from silica in the lungs. He has that as well as the effects of a boulder bashing his back. But he was bashed even harder by a swindler who stole the union’s pension funds. But he’s not a quitter. He just bores ahead in life. He finds blue-overhead relief here, open-clean-air fun here. He considers this shore his “big back yard” and comes to fish in it often.

Oxana and guests DSC_5958I came upon the ladies, my neighbor and her guests from Russia that I had photographed. Oxana and Nadia are cosmetologists, Julia, the teen is in High School, studying economics. They were going back to Russia soon. They had visited the Manhattan Roof Top Bar, the Hamptons and Atlantic City. They sent the photos I took of them home to Russia and they loved their visit to America.

IMG_3062Marty with his metal detector has been beach combing for 20 years. He wears a medallion necklace containing silver from the Fisher find off Sebastian Fl. He’s found numerous gold items on our shores and wears rings and bracelets that he’s uncovered. Their sand-softened edges give them a sea-soul quality. The same sea-soul quality of his sun-weathered skin.

Marty's ringsIMG_3438

radio DSC_6812Then a couple, sitting by the jetty. She teaches all manner of art, from painting to performance. She loved my story of the driftwood whale that I mounted on our wall. He’s a doctor and brought a newspaper to the beach, she a transistor radio. Yes, a transistor radio. Love it. She wants her ashes sprinkled into the sands. She won’t be alone.

Julianna DSC_6949Julianna sits on a jetty rock. But the boulder causes her no discomfort as she writes intently into her journal. She doesn’t move for great lengths of time as she sends her passion down through her pen. She only stops to take and send photos of gulls on sea-splashed rocks to a badly injured friend.

Then I saw Abbey, alone on the sand. We’ve spoken before. She told me she feels a strong spiritual experience at the shore. So much so that she too would like to have her ashes scattered on the sand.

This day she came to the shore for healing. Her brother, Jack, killed himself three weeks prior, shot himself in the head. No warning of troubles. A seemingly happy man in his forties. She needed the sea’s sounds, and sights and scents. I expressed my sorrow for her. We spoke. We hugged. And I moved on.

ABBEY IMG_3353I saw her again yesterday while I was walking Bailey. She said she thinks a lot about her brother and that she just spoke to him. She seemed really glad to see me and to tell me she read the post about Janine’s painting. I told her Cheryl bought the piece for me for my birthday and that Janine just visited us to adjust the painting’s matting. Yes, Janine makes house calls. I showed her the iPhone photo Janine took of us. She loved the whole story of the painting. She took off a coral beaded ring she wore and insisted I give it to Cheryl.

Abbey looked much better and I told her so. She strikes me as resilient lady. The painting story put a smile on her face. I know all our hearts are with her.

Ripples, coming together, each a bit different but…all from the same sea of life.

Be well,


6 replies »

  1. Well, so nice hearing from you, Mary. You have a very sweet and talented daughter whom it was my pleasure to meet. Yes, sure, I’d like to meet you as well. May you become well enough soon. The shore beckons…and heals. And I’ll keep on writing about it.
    Thank you for those kind words,


  2. I’m Janine’s mom and was very touched by your blog. Hope I can get to meet you one day as soon as I’m well enough to get to the beach. Please keep on writing for us who can’t get to the shore.


  3. Yes, the power of the painting goes on. For those not knowing the story here’s the link to my post, New Eyes:

    And yes, Abbey needs us all in her corner. She’s resilient though. One day at a time, Abbey.

    Thank you, Janine.


  4. So I’ve come to realize that this painting has some special powers Lee. I’m so glad that the story behind this painting just continues to be paid forward and has now brought some joy to Abbey. My prayers to Abbey and her family during this trying time.


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