photo credit :: Ashley Gregory
He closes the door behind him without locking it. He doesn’t need to take the precaution. There will be someone home to open it when he gets back from his run to Governor’s Cut.
He walks to the beach. It is not quite twilight, but it will be getting dark on his return trip back north.
He stretches on the sand: bending down to touch his TOEs; taking the time to twirl each ankle, clockwise then counterclockwise; leaning against a wooden post and lengthening his calves, methodical, an instrument being tuned.
He breathes deeply, falling in love with the ocean as the waves kiss the shore. He wants to be the shore. That is why he takes out his rusty clippers and trims his nails, scatters them on the wet sand where the waves sough. It pleases him, knowing that his dead cells will mingle with the sand until, one day, they will become the sand.
He starts his stopwatch to keep pace. He knows it will take him twenty-five minutes to reach Governor’s Cut, where there is a lighthouse with the word [Jetty] stenciled in black paint. He cannot wait to see this lighthouse. He will be tired by the time he gets there, but he will be full of laughter, too. Tired and full of laughter at the sight of the lighthouse.
People on the beach are very active. The beach is an active place, even when people are horizontal on their blankets they are actively horizontal. The beach keeps people alive. It is a restless place by nature. In other words, it cannot help but be a restless place. There is no surcease at the beach. Everything is in motion. Nonstop. The beach is where we come from. One glorious day an amphibious creature graces land, and from there the rest is history, our history.
He isn’t thinking about anything in particular. He is only running, unaware of the importance of the ocean, the meaning of the sea. He intuitively understands everything around him though.
The children shouting joyously, he understands.
The man flying the kite, he understands.
The woman standing on the bluff in her dress, he understands.
The seagulls walking all funny, he understands.
The pig skin spiraling through the air, he understands.
The sand that sneaks into his shoes, he understands.
The soccer players, he understands.
The girls in bikinis, he understands.
The condominium under construction, he understands.
The music thumping in South Beach, he understands.
The trash cans, he understands.
The footfalls in the sand, he understands.
The lovers in sunglasses, he understands.
The sound of his feet carrying him forward, he understands.
His beating heart, he understands.
But he isn’t thinking about any of it in particular. He is only running, aware of his own running, of his body, his organs, his enzymes. He is a little man on the beach, a dot on the beach, nothing at all, and everything around him is an impression.