A Walk On The Beach

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Just a good stretch of the legs

A Walk On The Beach


I went for a a walk on the beach after treatment the other day.  First I drove to an out of the way place where Uncle Pic used to take his grandkids to tire them out.


Uncle Pic had a good system. He would drive out to this secluded beach and let his grandchildren run wild up and down the beach, dancing and playing on the wet sands just beyond the reach of the ever shifting tide. 


With no particular hurry or schedule to adhere to, he would spend quality time with the grandkids watching the waves crashing on the beach, marveling at what offerings the sea deposited on the endless stretch of sand, or watching as the boys stomped on the bulbous end of stray strands of bullwhip kelp drying in the sun. No hurry. No worries. No schedule. Just ocean and children and sand spinning memories out of the golden sunlight of a coastal afternoon.


But the sheer genius of Uncle Pic’s method was the ride back home. Uncle Pic had one of those car heaters that would let you grow palm trees in the ashtray in the darkest depths of winter. And it was this instrument which he employed to its greatest advantage. 


After letting the young uns run themselves out for an hour or more on the sand, he would gather them together in the back seat of the family roadster and crank up that heater. After the wind and wet of the beach, the warmth was welcome.


The poor little tykes didn’t stand a chance. By the time Uncle Pic turned the vehicle back onto the paved highway, they were all sound asleep in the backseat. No doubt dreaming of pirate shipwrecks, their Native American ancestors inhabiting the shores in lodges fashioned from driftwood logs, or the magical creatures that exist only in the fabric of a happy child’s imagination and dreams.


I only mention good ol’ Uncle Pic because I was driving his old Ford when I set out for my walk on the beach.  “Little Blackie” is kind of an odd family heirloom in its own right. I’m not sure how many cousins and relatives have had the loan of “Little Blackie” over the years. I do know that both my Mother and my Brother used the vehicle for a time when they made their respective moves back to our tribal stomping grounds.


“Little Blackie” was SUPPOSED to be a loaner for me too...that is until a suicidal deer jumped in front of me on Newmark and altered that equation. 


So now “Little Blackie” is mine. He takes me to work when I’m working. He takes me to treatment at the Bay Area Cancer Center when I need to go there.  And when my leg starts cramping up because I’ve spent too much time sitting around the house doing too much nothing for far too long, he takes me down to the beach where Uncle Pic used to bring his grandkids to run in the endless stretches of sand.


It was nice to wander along the deserted beach, alone with my thoughts, whatever trials I might imagine for myself small and insignificant against the backdrop of the walls of the ocean incessantly slamming into the malleable edge of the world at the border of the unknown depths of the vast Pacific.


As I started my little trek, I did see one couple with their dog headed back toward the parking area. Other than that, I had the beach to myself. I let my footprints press into the windswept sands, the wind and the sound of the waves washing over me, tearing away any worry or semblance of stress and sending them bounding away to be lost forever in the dune grass, gorse and scotch broom.


On and on I went, enjoying the spiritual cleansing of the elements, the peacefulness inherent in the roaring wind, the anonymity of being a human grain of sand on a seemingly endless stretch of beach at the edge of a vast and powerful ocean.


Then I turned back toward where I had parked “Little Blackie”.


The long walk back was every bit as magnificent and majestic as my initial walk out had been. But on the return trip my field of vision shortened. My legs felt just a little bit heavier; my steps faltering and a bit more wandering amongst the logs and sand and seaweed.


I am certain that there must have been times in my life when I was more relieved, elated, or grateful to have reached a destination than I was when I trudged from the beach back up to the parking area where I’d left “Little Blackie”, but nothing comes to memory at the moment.


I just sat there in the driver’s seat for a few minutes, thankful to be safely out of the elements and back in my comfort zone.  Life is like that sometimes.  One moment I’m all caught up in the magnificence and splendor of the natural world. The very next moment I’m like, “Oh shit!” 


The older I get, the more of those “Oh shit!” moments I have. All of them leading to the final big unknown “Oh shit!”  That day will come. It comes to everyone. It has to. It’s the nature of the game, the price of admission into this beautiful, crazy, complex, fascinating world that we inhabit. 


Until that day, you may see “Little Blackie” parked somewhere close to the ocean, and me wandering aimlessly at the water’s edge. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.  I just won’t turn up the heater on the way home.




Submitted: November 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 ShadyBrady. All rights reserved.

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