Journey of 1000 Miles

Tempting the Ocean

In June, I was on vacation with my family. There is one scene I recall and thought I’d share. Sitting on the beach outside our resort with my wife, the sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with shades of the blue east to the crimson west. My daughter was on the edge of the shore racing against the waves. Tempting them by running out on the low pull and trying to outrun the salty ocean breaks back to the crest of the sand hill as they push up just far enough to send fits of nervous laughter into the air.

Likewise, I noticed a seagull in the air doing its own version of tempting the ocean. Soaring high into the sea breeze then swooping down to just a foot above the surface and the feathers of its wings scraping the water for less than a second before arching back into the sky. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity.

It wasn’t until yesterday, my mind started connecting the moments to what was happening currently. My daughter had her Freshman orientation and that scene from the Mexican beach came back to me. The joyful laughter of outrunning the ocean mixed with the tempting fate of trying to let the waves engulf her. If life is the ocean, she is indeed starting to tempt breaching the shore and diving in.

My years with her staying under my roof, under my guidance and protection are starting to fade like the light at sunset. The harsh days of adjusting to popularity and groups of new friends. The path of finding more of herself and who she is approaches each day and I feel like in the next four years, the time will breeze by. I hope I have been enough of a father to teach her how to stay true to herself when it matters and protect herself when it doesn’t.

There is a sting when I look at her growing more beautiful each day, more of an adult every day. Her mistakes make me thankful somewhere inside because it means she is still needing help, needing me. I smile beneath the pain, knowing she’ll be just fine. Her mistakes without me will help teach her how to be strong and how to overcome, I just want to make sure she’s ready for those waves when they pull her out. I’m happy with her staying on the beach for as long as I can.

Think back to moments in your childhood, adulthood. How many moments have you been on the beach, preparing to run for the ocean?



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Journey of 1000 Miles

A Fistful of Dimes

My Uncle Mike once asked me a question when I was 8 years old. He said, “If I let you grab a fistful of just one kind of coin, pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters, which would you reach for?” Knowing even at that age what a pragmatic man he could be, I knew there was something more to the question. The obvious coin of choice was the quarter, I’d have a few bucks to show for it and in the 80’s that meant something huuuuge! Like I could buy a few packs of Garbage Pail Kids, about (40) Now & Laters or (8) Star Crunches… I was a chub, what? However, the obvious is generally not the most worthy choice. After a few seconds of contemplation, I answered him. “I’d choose the dimes,” I said with gusto. His face lit up and smiled at my decision. Without explaining the reason or lingering about, he simply said, “You’re a smart young man.” After which he tussled my hair and we proceeded to have an M&M eating contest. It’s one of my first memories of him and one closest to my heart when I think of him.

As an author, I truly attribute this sentiment to a lot of the choices readers make. The allure of the large shinny quarter is obvious, but the dime is small and you can find there is much more worth to grabbing a fistful of those. I suppose it speaks more to my Traditional v. Indie feud. The ability to gain more marketing foothold or more popularity/notoriety. On my low days, the days when I see my stats are low and sales are flat, I think back to myself and imagine I’m a fistful of dimes when others are still grabbing quarters.



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Death of Nostalgia

I remember when I had no worries. The cares of a child from my day revolved around when dinner was while trying not to get cavities in the meantime. The world outside of the TV was a safe place. Ignorance was bliss and I was a blissful, pudgy kid. My friends only amounted to a handful at best and we spent our time playing guns (when that wasn’t judged, misjudged or looked at with trepidation), trading basketball/baseball cards and looking for mischief. Today, I wonder if that kind of innocence exists?

The internet has connected all of us but has it also made our children grow up faster? They are given information (truthful or not) within seconds. Elders have been pushed aside for a Google search and respect amounts to what social media is trending.

Sincerity is rare and nostalgia is a word seldom used or ever known how to spell without auto-correct. Don’t misunderstand me, I love technology and geek out to every new and upcoming thing, but there are days or thoughts of days when I want it all to go back. I want the internet to sleep for a week, for cable TV to hibernate one summer and social interaction to rely on calling (not texting) a friend to get together and do something.

It can all start up again, but I want to wash the dirt out of the gutters of the world before they clog the drains and flood us all. Maybe that will only exist in a novel and if that’s the case, I will gladly write it.

Am I crazy for wanting such things?