Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?


             Royal terns, adult and young.  Fujifilm X-Pro2, ISO 600, FL 400 mm, 1/1000 sec@f/11

I’ve been on the coast for just a week now.  With 2 dogs, I’m doing a lot of beach walking and I pretty much have the beach to myself because it’s been cold. The cold doesn’t really bother me (although Abba has to be bundled up or he refuses to set paw outside) and I’ve really enjoyed the solitude.  Unfortunately, not only has there been an absence of human beings but the birds have obviously been tucked in somewhere because I haven’t seen them around. One of my best memories of beach time is watching the pelicans nose dive like a bullet into the water, followed by their awkward, gangly rising out of the water with fish in beak.  So, I have missed the birds.  But that has been changing the last 2 days.  I’ve seen sanderlings (I just love to watch them scampering around in the surf) and laughing gulls, brown pelicans, and today – royal terns. I noticed two of them – an adult and a young one that seemed to be in a confrontation.  I choose to believe that it’s a teenager talking back to his mom but it was fun watching their behavior.  I’m glad the sea birds have come back to the shore and I’m looking forward to seeing even more of them.

I also saw a few members of the human species today.  Two couples were making their way – very, very slowly – from a beach entrance to a spot closer to the surf.  They all looked very old. One woman was using a cane and the other woman was being actively assisted by one of the gentlemen.  The other gentleman was carrying chairs.  I was walking toward them so I watched their slow progression and eventual arrival to their destination.  And while I was watching them and their slow but determined progress, I thought how brave they are.  At their age, falls are always a worry.  Joints are painful and stiff.  But there they were – slow, halting – but by God, making their way to the surf and the view they wanted.  By the time I had gotten closer to them, they were sitting at the surf line.  The women cooed loudly at Abba and Jackson so we had to walk close to the group so that petting and admiration could be delivered, which the fur-kids loved.  Now that I was very close to the group, I saw they were as old as they had appeared from a distance. But they were smiling, curious about me and the dogs, and asking lots of questions.  What was my name?  Where did I live?  How long would I be here?  Wasn’t it a gorgeous day?  Happiness just bubbled around them and they seemed to be living, truly living, each second of the time I was with them.  I’m sure that is the attitude that permeates their existence.  It is that zest for living that propelled them – aching joints, slowed reflexes, diminished vision and hearing – to the moments they wanted by the water and with their friends.  

I found them inspiring.  I hope that I can carry the same zest for life and appreciation of every moment that I have, despite the frailties of an aging body.  Brings to mind one of my favorite Stevie Nicks song, ‘Landslide’.

Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
About Diana Davidson

Physician, traveler, photographer, tennis player, reader, teacher, student

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