Seaside Lessons From Old Souls (Intro)

“Look around, it doesn’t get any better than this”. My grandfather said as he skipped a stone into the navy blue ocean in front of us. Waves gently washed against the large rock that we stood on while a slice of faded orange began to show on the horizon. “It’s beautiful” I said as I let out a yawn. “Still asleep over there?”  my dad asked with a laugh. “No, no, I’m ready” I responded quickly and with as much energy as I could muster. I truly was excited to be going on this sunrise walk, it felt somewhat like a rite of passage. However, while these two were seasoned vets, I was not yet used to the crack of dawn lifestyle.

The breeze was chilly as we set off on our morning adventure. My dad had suggested bringing a sweater several times, but me being a defiant teen, thought it was ridiculous advice. It was mid June, how cold could it be? Well, at 5 a.m. apparently pretty damn cold. I was wearing a tee-shirt and shorts, and luckily listened to their counsel against wearing flip flops. After the first stretch which consisted almost solely of slippery rocks, I was glad to have some solid traction under me. I was freezing, I was exhausted, but I was happier than ever to be with them, following their lead.

I watched their every move as they climbed over rocks and tried my best to shadow their steps. After walking along a small beach we came to an intersection. We could either continue on the sand outwards and to the left or veer to the right through a wooded area. They both stopped and looked back at me. “Which way buddy?!” My dad asked. Looking at the woods it looked somewhat eerie and dark, like it could’ve been on the cover of a Goosebumps book. I had no idea if there was a right answer, but it seemed like the woods was the more exciting way, so I pointed in that direction. “He’s a natural!” My grandfather exclaimed as he slapped my dad on the back and said “ Already knows the shortcut”. My dad smiled almost identically and said “Lead the way pal!”

It felt good to lead the way even though I had no idea where we were going. As I marched quickly through the path I could tell it had been walked through many a time by others. “We’ve got a regular Davy Crockett on our hands” my dad said as my grandfather laughed and agreed “We sure do, look at this guy go!” I used to love the theme song from Davy Crockett which my parents and I would sing along to in the car. I began singing the chorus, “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!” as my dad hummed along with me. Suddenly I was fully energized and felt like I could take on the world. ( If you’re ever looking for a good coffee substitute, I would highly suggest a sunrise walk-  it does the trick and then some ) We continued on steadily through the woods until we approached an overgrown section of brush.

My dad used his walking stick to break them down and push them to the side. He and my grandfather cleared through the prickers and branches swiftly and signaled me through. It looked effortless, like they had done this a hundred times, which they probably had. “Good call not trying to barrel through there.We gotta get you set up with your own walking stick, let’s keep an eye out” my father said to me. “Plenty of sticks around here, just need to find the right one” my grandfather said. For the next few minutes,  I walked slowly, eyeing every inch around me in efforts to find a stick. I wanted so badly to have one like them. I needed one.   

Falling more and more behind my eye finally caught a thick hanging branch which looked to be the size and shape I was looking for. That’s it, that’s going to be my walking stick. I’ll carve my name into it tonight, yes, I couldn’t wait.  “Wait guys, look I found it!” I pointed to the hanging branch in excitement. The men stopped and turned around to check it out. “Which one ?” my grandfather asked. “Hanging, right there!”  My grandfather walked 10 or 15 feet into the woods and yanked on the potential find. Coming down instantly with one tug my grandfather let out a slightly disappointed sigh. “Sorry pal, this wood is dead, its weak” he said as he cracked the wood with his hand like he was breaking a kit-kat bar. The bark and wood chips crumbled to the ground and I too became disappointed. It had looked so perfect.

“Definitely the right idea” my dad said as he patted me on the back. “Right size and everything, good eye. You’ll find the right one sooner or later, no rush.” The sun began to peak through the woods and lit up the previously dim and narrow path. Looking ahead I could see the shortcut ending and connecting back to the beach. Catching a glimpse of the vast blue ocean through the tunnel I began to run, dashing by my father and then nearly knocking into my grandfather. “Woahhh there speedy gonsalez” I turned around briefly and smiled at the two and then left them in the dust. I had never been to this side of the bay, and was anxious to see the view. Turning the slight corner from out of the path I arrived on a slight ledge which jutted out over a strip of beach below. Looking out past the beach I was immediately mesmerized by the amazing scene in front of me. 

The waves rolled in slowly as the sky seemed to hover gracefully on top of them. Seagulls flew casually by as faded yellows, pinks and reds lined dispersed across the entire bay. I had never seen, or felt anything as awe inspiring before in my life. Cool wind gusts coupled with warm sun rays hit me as I stood completely still gazing for what seemed like a lifetime.  Behind me I could hear laughter and footsteps as the men approached. I didn’t turn or say anything, I was still in awe. As the footsteps got closer the laughter stopped. The three of us stood in silence together, looking out at the breathtaking view. What a feeling. I could tell they felt it too, it was a something special. Nothing needed to be said, it was understood. It looked like a world renowned painting, it almost didn’t look real. No picture or words could do this type of moment justice and that was fine, because here we were, living in it.

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