A green headed duck sits in the water by the stone steps. He is floating by as his spouse pecks at the bubble foam that gathers at the water's edge. He is quacking at her as she floats by, complacent, ignoring him, her grayness to his bright flair a pragmatic counterpoint.
Two empty cup sit on the rocks, remnants of ice still leaving a chill around the rim. Two straws, expectant, point off to the horizon. In the empty spaces you can still hear the echo of two lovers.
And still the waves lap softly on the stone steps, gray and rounded, sleak and glazed with age.
The boats are bobbing like tiny colorful corks out past the peer, one of those ancient, sturdy ones made of thick planks, jutting out thirty feet into the bay. It is six thirty, morning in late June. No one but the usual sputtering sea gulls walk the beach....
wait..I just realized. This particular beach is always deserted. It is the far end of a State Park that you have to backpack four miles into before reaching the ocean. Northeast. The beach is rocky, not with pebbles but with huge boulders of every variety and shape rising and receding as the waves rush over them, stroking them smooth as ice, shimmering in the fragile morning light. If you are agile you might lob yourself from one to the next, helped by other small ones. But take care not to chose those that have grown slippery from moss. Only the rocks that have the constant brush of the ocean are safe unless they are tall enough to escape it altogether. for every rock there is a pool, some mildly stagnant, some a constant quiet flow, the seaweed ungulating first in one direction and then delicately back only to turn again as the waves change.
A bit of time has past. The sun has risen and already that smell of heating earth, drying out of nature is filling the air. Your face begins to feel the suns touch. As you look out to the ocean's edge you have to squint a little.
The aloneness is total.
It is almost frightening for a moment. But as you stay, the thing inside that is you, standing on that huge rock, on one long deserted beach which stretches out on either side to two wavering gray lines, with miles of humanless forest at your back, with microscopic creatures swimming and crawling around you, surrounded by so many undisturbed things, there comes the peace, the letting go and filling up and you feel the oneness of the connections of all beings and their comfort, their tears. And looking out at those dark, angry waves so unstoppable, you think that there just might be a God.
(Yeah, yeah, okay a Higher power or whatever/whoever you may feel that to be. Or you can delete the last line. I suppose it's self evident.)
During my years as a psychotherapist I watched as young men and women were denegrated and shamed because of their basic psysiological attraction to someone of their own sex. I watched as they struggled and fought to overcome the ugly messages of an ignorant and intolerant society that said, "If you are not like me, you are bad and evil'. I fought along with them as they tried to learn to love themselves for what they were, to find a place in their identities that would allow them to love someone, have a home with someone, have children with someone and be happy and proud of their ability to form attachments and make life long committments - as so many of us just take for granted. Many times I failed and I have no doubt that I have lost some of those precious people to AIDS because they felt such shame, they would not protect themselves and could not let themselves have the life that we all need and that we all deserve.
Some of the best people I met in my work were gay. I don't say this lightly. It takes a very special person to crawl their way out from under the garbage that our world has slung at them. It take work and introspection. It takes bravery to stand up to a parent who looks at you with horror because of what you are. It takes bravery to accept yourself in the face of a potential complete rejection by your family, some friends and your culture. It takes a wonderful character to be joyful and complete and forgiving in the face of all this. These folks are our friends, our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors. I rejoice in their taking their rightful place in the world. We will all be better people for knowing someone who has been through this and come out the other side a whole and proud person.
Let's help those who continue to struggle to be free and feel accepted so that we lose no one else.
Is it just me or do all people suddenly stop sometimes and think, "Good grief, I don't think anyone really knows me at all." Maybe it's a "getting a year older" thing that everyone has now and then. Or maybe I better get rid of these hundreds of journals that I have lying around cluttering up the attic, the closet, the cabin, or some people might feel..confused (?) when I kick the old big one.....a clinical psychologist supervisor once told me that I was the most hidden person he had ever met after reading some of my writing. (He'd supervised me for four bloody years!) Am I really only real on paper?? What a weird thought.....