Our spouses think we are crazy. Our friends…. well, we dare not even attempt to explain.
The ritual goes as such. Mark arrives, always first, royal blue chair, hardcover book, and just slightly to the left of the entrance. Next, Bill, oh Bill, slightly to the right of the entrance, small side table nestled into the sand so that jazz can whisper into his ears. I am usually next, entrance far right, red and white striped towel and navy backpack, laptop and the paper paper. Not long after, Jason, military grade folded towel, sleeveless shirt, canteen, and razor sharp vision. And finally Medhat, plopped squarely in the middle, fresh out of surgeries and rounds, kindle, reclining chair and if his wife forces him and we do not heckle him, an umbrella.
A financier, lawyer, doctor, musician, and entrepreneur. A Muslim, Prodestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and Jew, together. We breathe side by side in our shared place of worship, a place where the waves transport us into an elevated state while the horizon unites into a lone spirituality deeper than is explicable with words.
The more I am here, the more I realize how mystefying it actually is. Except for Bill - he wrote it into his wedding vows. This need, this urge. This compulsion to dance between the permanence of the horizon and fluidity of the sea, to flirt with micro and macro, the visible and the omnipresent. This permanent internal itch to be right here, right now, because here is the beginning of being.
We are all equal here. Tempered by nature’s power and beauty, reminded that it is not us but a greater majesty that always wins. That in the face of this expansive and omnipresent nature, true human nature is exposed.
Our collective breath transcends meditation in order to convene, while the roar of the waves coerces our carnal inner peace into a continuum of freedom. Freedom of character and courage, liberty from judgment and banality.
In today’s world everything continues to change without predictability or rythm; it is fluid in the most frustrating of ways. Wins and losses, small victories and colossal collapses. But for us, for us Boys of Summer + 1, our ethereal abode remains the same. As does our integrity.
It is arguably more challenging than ever to be anchored in integrity, as modern society whips around us, each headline blurring into the next. Yet, we come here to remind our inner selves to be tethered to the soundness within, the one item we are all born with but too oft ignore.
Here at this metaphysical church, the boys and I lean in to who we are, but learn from each other’s spirits. Our souls morph into one another like the lines of the original Rothko in front of us, variant species blurred into one beauty. Mark brought a towel once, Bill a book, me a chair, Medhat a crossed-legged stillness, and Jason, to all our surprise, chatty banter. Granted, each time such nonsense occurred we initially thought the world was ending, but soon after realized it is precisely the reason we are all always here.
Despite what the hubblebub our daily existence portrays, there within exists an ecosystem larger than what we define as humanity, beyond the scope of what modern life often allows us the time to comprehend. So we come to this shrine of contemplation and thought, values and depth, to help us put the world in its place and remember that not only will nature always win, but true human nature will always shine through.
At times we act like schoolchildren, basking in innocence, standing and pointing at the schools of dolphins, riding through the waves as if we were being caressed by a soft blanket, and texting “whale”, making sure each other never misses a glimpse of a natural wonder. Can you blame us? Each time it inevitably leaves us wondering for more.
It is so rare nowadays to have the space to move beyond the physical and dive into the infamous ‘other.’ Beyond what we know, beyond what we feel, beyond that which is visible and into the supremely real. It is in surfing our souls and swimming through our consciousness that we irrevocably return now, and always, bound by integrity and reason, faith and belief. Embraced by that one fine line, that line of purity and wholeness, that circle of inner peace, that harmonious horizon.
Between cigar puffs yesterday Bill astutely said, “There is a season for everything, or so it is written.” May all seasons be those of integrity, faith, freedom, and the open sea.