Snow on the Beach
I love how the ocean never changes. Never looks or sounds different. While everything changes around us, the ocean is always the same. It looks the same as it did when I was a child. It looks the same as it did when I grew to adulthood. It looks the same as it did when dinosaurs walked the Earth. If the ocean could speak, it could tell us about the history of life on the planet.
I like to sit and watch the ocean now. I rarely go in and swim or ride waves as I once did. I no longer care about getting tan on the beach. But I still love the ocean. Many of the people with whom I went to the beach over the years are gone now. They either died or drifted away like an ebbing tide…or like a surfer who, on a wave of life, ends up at a destination beyond his control. Still, I remember all the people with whom I shared time on the beach against the backdrop of the ocean…the ocean that never changes.
Growing up in northern New Jersey, the beach was a summer ritual, a place to go…”Down the shore.” I was in my sixth decade on the planet before I ever saw snow on the beach. It was incongruous. It didn’t belong there in winter. The beach that I came to know was meant for sun bathing, swimming, and surfing. The snow that I came to know was meant for clogging streets, snow shoveling, and snowballs.
Yet when I saw snow on the beach, it was beautiful. It was white on the expanse of empty sand and gleaming even whiter from the reflection of the sun. On this seemingly alien snow-covered place, the blue waves of the ocean moved relentlessly, oblivious to whether there was snow on a deserted beach in winter or sun bathers on a crowded beach in summer.
Always the same…the ocean. Winter or summer. Always the stability in a world where change happens at a dizzying pace. We come and go. The ocean never changes.