The boots pinch his feet, and the pack cuts into his shoulders.
The walk from the parking lot is long, but he’s impatient to get to the end. He knows the ocean is just there, past that distant berm of sand. He can smell the salt water and taste the salt air.
A wicked wind flattens his sweatshirt against his skinny body, and the sun is in his eyes.
None of these things matter. The ocean calls to him.
The boots only hinder his speed, but the solution takes seconds.
Bare feet slap the cold pavement. His pack is a few pounds heavier.
The path turns to sand, and suddenly the view is breathtaking.
Throngs of glistening skin and coconut oil have vanished. Clouds hurry along the grey horizon. Shadows freckle the water, but there, just a few hundred yards out, it’s different. Dull green waves catch the pale sunlight and the color touches his soul. He watches the waves roll in for a moment, and does nothing else.
Indomitable, he takes a deep breath, and rolls his pants to his knees. He wades deep enough for the frigid water to lap over his ankles. A shiver runs up his spine, but be it cold or excitement I cannot tell. His little frame leans into the wind, towards the expanse of water, and I wonder if he’ll dive in.
He’s alone out there, but I dare not disturb him. Adventure is on his mind, and his imagination needs every jeweled twinkle of light that bounces off the waves. He is committing this sight to memory, just as I commit the sight of him to mine.
The sun is so bright he has no color. He’s a black shape cut into the wild scene that stretches past my periphery. His footprints in the dark sand fade with each wave, and a lone gull hovers out over the waves.
His soul skims across the water. He seeks treasure. He sails ships in rough seas. He battles Blackbeard one second, Lord Nelson the next. Sea monsters fall to his spear, and he wakes, sandy and exhausted, on the shores of some deserted island.
Suddenly he turns, hitches up his pack and races down the beach. I see his mouth open but the wind is too strong for me to hear what he shouts.
I told my wife I wanted to start the New Year off healthy. A hike on the beach seemed perfect. I thought the exercise would do us good, and the kids would enjoy a break from the bare trees of our neighborhood. I didn’t know this trip would make such an impact.
I shouldn’t be surprised. My son has this effect on me. I watch him interact with the world, and suddenly I want to explore. Details come into focus, and my senses come alive. He fuels my creativity and every move he makes, makes me want to experience life on another level. What’s next in my story? What adventure awaits? What is beyond those waves, and over the horizon?
Owner Spowerks LLC