Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Melting to the Sea, but You Remain

"The code is 241," I whispered to the mother with the baby seat on her bike. The guard was not going to let her ride through the bike path gate without the code, and she was fumbling through her phone trying to find it. I was leaving the gate, where the code is written, to remind all the exclusive Sea Pine residents of the number sequence they would need to return. I see the point of gated communities, but something about it irks me to the core.

I had come by the code the way I always do. I ride up the beach, and when I have had enough of headwinds, I cut over to one of the paths that lead into Sea Pines from the beach. No code is required on the hundreds of beach access paths.

Yesterday, on the morning I came across the mother who couldn't remember the code, I had ridden all the way to the end of the island along the beach. It had been effortless biking, and I had been rewarded with a whole flotilla of dolphin just off shore. Then I headed back, and realized it had been effortless because I had had hurricane force tailwinds. I would never be able to return along the beach with the headwinds that were slowly removing my eyebrows and outer layer of skin.That's how I ended up on the Sea Pines bike paths.

And I was formulating my design plan for the sand sculpting that afternoon. It would be a surprise for Asherel.

When we got to the beach later that day, I had to race against the incoming tide. I had about two hours to build my creation before the tides engulfed it. I began shoveling piles of sand in the appropriate places.
"What are you making?" she asked.
"It's a surprise."
She watched for a few minutes as I began sculpting a nose on a submerged head. Then she glanced at the hourglass shaped pile of sand below the head.
"John Lennon playing guitar?"
The girl is good.

"Yes," I said, "And I have to hurry. The tide is coming in."
What kind of guitar?" She asked.
"What year is this?"
"I don't know. The year he had long hair."
"The magical mystery tour album?"
"Sure. I need help on the guitar. I did the general shape but I don't know the details."
She went right to work, and left me to handle Lennon's face. Several people came with cameras and asked if they could take a picture.
"Of course," I said, "But it isn't nearly done. Do you even know who it is?"
"Come back in half an hour. You will."
"Do you want me to make his glasses out of reeds?" asked my husband, Arvo.
"Yes, please!"
The tide crept closer as all three of us worked on our assorted tasks. The photographers kept coming back, gazing a moment, and then returning to their chairs.

Asherel was carving detailed frets, pick ups, knobs and designs.
"Is that a Rickenbacker?" asked one man.
Arvo plopped the glasses on my nearly completed head.
"John Lennon!" cried the man.
Now a horde of photographers descended, and all agreed, the sand had become John Lennon. I drew a peace sign on his chest.
"Perfect!" said one man.

Within half an hour, the tide began to swirl around the Rickenbacker. Then John Lennon's hands began to melt into the sea.
"How sad," I said, "He is dying again."
"Nothing's gonna change my world," sang Arvo, as we remembered John Lennon's song and watched him slowly crumble away.

I had been humming that song all day. But I didn't agree with the message. Things change my world every day....every moment. A lost job, an alligator snout poking above the surface from a long ago history, a great blue heron with a neck gracefully curved, a word of encouragement, a stranger helping a stranger, a family building together in the sand, a God of mercy and grace who engineered a world of such exquisite beauty that sometimes I want nothing more than to melt into it with the glorious green blue tide.

Psalm 102:25-28 NIV

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded. But you remain the same,
and your years will never end. The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you."
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