Monday, June 29, 2009



I can't believe that I once lived this close to the Atlantic Ocean, and had never gone in. Lying on the beach, sitting with Son #1 and his sweetie on one blanket, me and the SFC on the other, the desire to walk into the ocean came and lifted me to my feet. Soon, I will be going home and to not have a story like the one I would create, was for me, stupifying. Being able to say that I went and stood in the Alantic Ocean, and had I a mind, could have tried to swim to England ...

Well, that is what the story in my mind read, even though it is a well established fact, that I can't swim! I didn't wait for anyone to get up and go with me, I had made up my mind, jean shorts and all, that I was going to walk into the ocean.

Moving pass people lying on the beach getting sun, and the children running along in the wash where the shore meets the water, the feeling of standing against the waves pulled on me, as each wave went back out to sea. You could say that it also eroded my good sense, because from 'getting my feet wet', it became, 'walk to your neck' out into the Ocean.

It is only now, with the benefit of hindsight AND experience, i.e. TIME that I look back and see that I take risks. Though they never seem that way at the time, and they come from an inspiration that makes me think they are well concocted, I understand how it may seem reckless to others.

'Working without a net', is how I feel about how it is that I live my life. Part of it is that I never really thought I had anyone whose advice I could value. That is what it is, and that is that with that. That is also why anyone that really knows me, knows that by the time they have 'heard' of something I am considering, that the next time they see or hear of me, it will be after whatever has been 'done'.

For the things that I want to do, once I really want to do them, I don't need no stinkin' badges!! I go on and get to doing it. And that is why I was walking into the ocean alone. My SFC was lounging, and I wanted to go at that moment. Had I waited, I may have reconsidered going out. So without a moments hesitation, I strode out into the Atlantic.

And I still hadn't learned how to swim.

The water was relatively warm as it lapped at my feet. People were laughing, some were body surfing as the surf petered out. I could see 'tweens and teens' getting tossed by the waves, and that only made me walk out more intently. Seeing people getting strewn, made me think of nature trying to knock me down. It was with defiance and that the Ocean was calm that I kept walking into her. Had it clipped me at knee level, or even waist level, I would have stopped. Laughing, I'd return to shore, 'mission accomplished'. But she didn't. And I kept walking intently.

It wasn't until I reached the outer ring of bathers, two teenage girls, that I thought about where I was at. I first thought, 'Gee, these are some TALL girls', then I realized that they weren't 'tall', but that they were 'swimmers'. They were out treading water. Wave came and topped my head, and my toes 'hung', they didn't have anything beneath them. Another step, maybe two ..?

Turning as the wave passed, staring directly at the girl nearest to me, I said with a smile but matter of fact, "Hey, but I can't swim. FOR REAL. Could you take my hand?' I don't think she got how serious that I was, so just as calm but no less serious, I repeated myself ...

... and I saw my SFC right behind her. I knew then that I wouldn't be taken out into the water. Certainly that is where I was heading (silly a$$ me!) as the girl took my limply extended arm. I didn't want to 'pull' on her, but make contact so that I would have traction and start my way back to shore.

Looking into your clear blue eyes filled with worry, my smile grew even wider. It feels as I have been ,walking into the ocean' all my life, and never had anyone ever came to bring me back to shore.

Until today.


miss alaineus said...

this,imho, is one of the best things you have ever written mark.

learning to live, really live, is a little like learning to swim after all.


Beth said...

I'm with Alaina--this is just wonderful. I can't swim either, Mark, but I love being in the ocean. I'm so happy you took the plunge. :) XO

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad, in two ways, that you took the plunge. The end of your entry says it all.

Hope someday in the not to distant future, you can repeat with us in our Timeshare in FL :o)

dmappin said...

I love Virginia Beach and its surrounding area... especially the Washington, DC area... yeah, I know it is not immediate to VB, but the whole sea coast is so rich with history!

a corgi said...

loved the last paragraph, Mark; so glad you are taking the plunge and doing different things perhaps once considered outside of your comfort zone; glad you got to experience the ocean; brave men to keep walking out there though; I swim but I rarely ventured too far out into the ocean; always was concerned about riptides, etc.

so neat you are having a good time!!!!


Joann said...

Mark, this was BEAUTIFUL... it brought tears.... you explained it all so well!!!!

Her Side said...

I enjoyed this post very much. Because it played like a movie as I read it. It was me walking into the ocean and all the metaphors associated with taking a plunge into a new world.

PorkStar said...

Oh my, this is one very, very nice post my friend. : )

Wes said...


You have written another fine read!


Celeste said...

You brought tears to my eyes.