LIFE

 

Some things I just want to write down

 

Heading to the beach at dawn

All is very quiet

 

Thinking about the sunlit day before

Fishing

As I watch a tourist family on paddle boards

Way offshore

No life jackets

 

Thinking

I wonder if they know about the sharks

 

They came out of the water

One by one

And drifted away

Big mama was the last one out

Standing on the beach dripping dry

 

That is when I saw the big dorsal fin five yards off the beach

Six to eight foot bull shark

Maybe the same one we saw days earlier

I pointed it out to the folks on the beach

Including big mama

She did not say anything, and kind of froze

I never saw her or her kids again

 

But on this morning

There is a heavy mist

Cannot really see the separation of the sky and water

And of course not anyone around

I am thinking about sharks

And Ecuador

 

Why Ecuador?

We were drinking in a high-end resort

Filled with rich folk

We were on the balcony hanging over the ocean

Drinking

The alcohol was beginning to win

I was hot, stuffy…thoughts getting heavy

Thinking about farmland and swimming holes

 

I did the natural thing

Took off all my clothes, threw them in my chair

Stood on the rail

And dove into the ocean

I could hear a roar from the crowd as I headed to the water

I began swimming out

Came to a line of buoys

I have never been big on boundaries

Under… and they are behind me

Splashing around having fun in the night

Until I saw flashlights bobbing around on the beach

 

The next morning

Hung over

In the mess hall

The quiet reflective black dude working the mess hall

Says very quietly

“You swam in shark infested waters, do you know that?

Years later

I met a friend who had been with me on that balcony

He had made a home on those ships

He begins saying something and stops...pointing at me

“They are still talking about you in Ecuador!”

 

So on this misty morning as I head to the beach at dawn for a swim

I am thinking about sharks, Ecuador and big mama

Of course they are all related

Mostly I was thinking about sharks

 

I had my swim

Was not attacked

And was on the beach dripping dry

Trying to take some photos that did not work out

Watching the solitary figure approach through the mist from down beach

 

He was 75-years of age

He told me

We made small talk at first

“How is the water?”

As E would say

“Gooooood!”

 

I think it was my comment

“As far as we know we only go around once -  right?”

That opened the gates

Allowing him to tell his story

Just the two of us

Strangers

Alone on a misty beach at dawn

 

“I did not want another child

My wife did

So we did

Have another child

 

They said he would not reach the age of five

We bought a motor home

And the three of us got in

We left Virginia

Drove all over the country

Ending up on the west coast

We parked the van

Unloaded the wheel chair

Boarded a plane, and flew to South Africa

 

Many times we wanted to stop while driving across that vast country

I said, No.

I have to get to the other side

I have to dive in the ocean

We did

And I did

Seeing you here this morning made me think of it

 

I have no money in the bank

It all went on those years

My wife came down with cancer at 59

My son died right after she completed chemo

He was 21

He was never a burden

He was a blessing

My wife died shortly thereafter

 

I am here walking the beach

Without much money

But rich in memories

I loved them then

I love them now

I will always love them.”

 

I said something(this is me)

I do not know what

He said, “OK

See you later

God bless you”

 

I boarded a plane later that day

Thinking about stuff

I began a poem on my phone

A smile began working across my face

I finished it at home

 

Some things I just want to write down

It is all very real