Bald Point State Park, Florida – January 18, 2013
I saw an old man walking along the beach a few days ago. His crooked back leaned so far over that it looked like his head sprouted from mid-chest. He walked like an unsteady robot, half his joints fused together, stiff limbs, short steps. Two dogs ran circles around him, each about a foot tall with fluffy fur, one black one white, threatening to trip him at any moment, their leashes tangled in a giant knot around his feet.
I saw him and paddled hard outside the breakers with arms built over three-thousand miles to do nothing other than paddle.
He left me behind like a dragster, shrinking in front of me down the beach until he disappeared into a house, the two dogs winking away with him.
“Damn this wind,” I thought.
And I think the same thing today. I’ve thought it every day for two weeks. I’ve yelled, I’ve smashed my paddle into the water, I’ve pouted. I wanted to call the police and complain, to sue the wind in small claims court for mental anguish, to punch it in the face. But I can’t do anything to the wind. It blows where it wants and doesn’t care. All I can do is watch old men pass me on the beach and learn something profound about patience.
At least I’ve done one of those two things.