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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 30: The ocean revisited

Updated: Sep 18, 2018

KT Man,

Yesterday was not just another tough reminder but also an adjuster. The ocean changes people: It adjusts them with a gentle and powerful force that plays a dualism in life. It’s peaceful but also can be cruel.

I have no clue how you do it Dogg Man but you brought back the beautiful sun and warmth to the Oregon ocean beach. The breeze gentle unlike the usual gale of the coast. We walked the long broad sand to the north jetty of Florence. A dull fog horn marking the passage for boats with its doleful reminder of caution. The tide was ebbing with waves drifting in after powerful upheavals further out. The high mark of the tide was strewn with all matters of death and traces of the past: broken silver dollars, crab shells, crab claws, mussel shells, strands of kelp, transparent globbs of something once alive, foot prints in the hard pack sand of people, dogs, birds. This is where the ocean can be cruel. Relentless in washing ashore all matters of death and traces from the past.

We returned to our last photo shoot in Yachats. The rocks forcing themselves on the ocean, not moving but breaking the waves. They sprayed and then crashed, only to reload with more. We climbed to the rocks, perched, and took pictures just like last Thanksgiving. When we left, I remembered my Oakley’s were sitting on a rock. I ran back, desperate not to lose yet another set of expensive shades like I’ve done so many times. I found them right where I had left them and sat down punching the air and shouting “goddamnit”. I noticed a guy coming down to the rocks and he asked me “Did you lose something?” I said “Yes, I just lost my son. This was our last photo shoot site”. He said “I just lost my wife. She died a few years ago of glioblastoma”. His name was Rick, from New Hampshire and he was wandering the country. He asked “What was his name?” “Karsten, he was only 28,” I said. Rick responded quietly “Interesting. My daughter’s name is Kirsten. She had cancer when she was seven. She’s in remission now and is a teacher in Georgia.” Our brief conversation ended: “Travel well.” “Yes, be safe.” Such few words and so much understanding. Indeed, the ocean can be cruel, even in bringing people together all seeking solace from its beauty.

The night ended peacefully: a dome of stars with the moon a crescent sliver. Sev and I wandered out to a near negative tide where the waves retreat and the shore expands west. The waves were bolting north in strange formations. Beginning small and short, gathering themselves and building until it shot out and stopped. Dissipated. New bolts lit white by the moon.

Now it is morning with your mom and I perched on a deck at Driftwood Shores and Sev sleeping inside. The waves are calmer, the sky is gray, the rain beginning with a gentle mist, and your presence is everywhere. The gulls punctuate the fog horn. A shrill contrast to their dull rhythmic low pitch.

We love you so much and need to stay close to the ocean even though it can be cruel. The ocean is a beautiful force with continuous waves that rise and fall, big waves and small waves, coming to shore and marking high tides and low tides, four times each day, but never the same.

The ocean brings us close to you.

JT Man

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