Seagulls swooped. Horizon gleamed orange–crashed crimson over snowy whitecaps. Golden beaches sported polka dot people and rainbowed umbrellas. It might have been Italy, or France, or Cancun. But it was simply May in South Haven, MI: our town. The one we “go to” for sun and water and picnics and fish.
The people were young, and they peppered the sand with themselves…full of energy, zest, a love of life and of each other. Classes were done! Summer glory beat against their breasts and they heaved themselves into the fun at hand.
They made me smile, these young ones. For I no longer claim that title. They rattled scenes from my own yesterdays and shook them out in front of me to re-enjoy. I was them, they were me. Boys paraded their strength, and girls their beauty. The old, old story unfurled as I watched. Love, in its’ “watch me” stage. Love caught up in “how do I look”. Strength was drawn to beauty, and beauty to strength. The first “parade” of early mating.
Then….my attention moved to a pair outlined black against the horizon. A pair and a dog. Side by side they moved forward, holding hands. Their movements were jerky, unsure, tentative as they moved across the blazing desert of sand, through the young ones, toward their car. It was a long way for them. I could tell. And I watched.
They were halfway, and there was no turning back. She stumbled. He held her hand as together they worried their way across the endless beach. Each step was measured, cautious, a footprint etched with much thought. They looked at each other, and they smiled encouragement, as much as to say, “This is nothing. Remember what we’ve already been through?”
They could have been 80–the frail years. All they saw was each other and each other was enough. This was nothing. They had done more a thousand times, and held onto each other and pressed on. They had put one foot in front of another and made it through hard times without end. One stumbled–the other held them steady. The recipe worked. It was tried
They edged close to the end of the beach and grinned victory. He dropped a kiss on the top of her head.
They, too, had been young. And now they were old. And their recipe had worked. Their loving had been long and strong and climbed mountains and forded streams and held on and tight. It had grown from “look at me” to “look at us”. They had run the race, fought the fight, won the “gold”.
And, oh, when I grow up…..I do, very much, want to be like them.