Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Storms

I came down to the coast all excited to take my kayak out with my stickysounds (stickysounds.com-- a shameless plug for my son-in-law's company). It was windy and bitter cold. When I started walking to dinner, I turned around to get the car to drive to dinner. I've never driven to dinner, but the wind was too much to fight. Even for dinner.

This morning I kept putting off my beach walk because it was still too cold. I kept checking my weather app and by 10:00 a.m., when it hit 55 degrees, I headed out into a beautiful sunny day. When I met the ocean, I was amazed at its power and destruction from the night before. It was churning, thundering and rolling. I wouldn't be kayaking with my new stickysounds (shameless plug repeat). I was sad, but marveled at the ocean's mood swings, and today it was fiercely angry. The kind of day one avoids.

The storm had taken out the vegetation berm along the boardwalk and covered it with an inch of sand. The surf had jumped the beach and flooded a street. Chunks of aggregate were missing from beach stairs. The police had blocked off a portion of the boardwalk and lifeguards from the main tower were warning people to stay out of the water. The red flag was flapping in the wind.

When Max was just a four year old, his aunts and Tony and me had all flown back to Indiana for a visit. He had a soccer game and we were excited to see the little guy perform. Soccer for four year olds is quite amusing and its entertaining to watch the little guys bunch together to scrum for the ball. There was one moment when every player was in a tight circle trying to get control over the ball. Max stepped away, turned to the sidelines and called out, "There's no way I'm getting in the middle of that."

The little guy had no idea he'd created an aphorism for my sister and me. When things got complicated, we'd imitate Max, "There's no way I'm getting in the middle of that." Even at such a young age, Max saw the futility of fighting for ball control or kayaking into a storm.

I once had a tendency to enter storms with an in-law. Then one day everyone else entered the storm with this in-law, and I was as distant as a rainbow. As I stood back and watched the storm brew, I had a perspective I wanted to have for now on and forever--far away from the storm.

It doesn't mean I haven't failed to stay out of storms, but each time I do, the lesson of having entered choppy waters reinforces my previous resolve. Because of this resolve, it seems that everything I'm involved in is a peaceful, loving environment and from my perspective, probably problem free. Oh the joy of staying out of the storm!