Today I am in Long Beach with my friend. On this day before the first day of Spring, the temperature is perfect—the ideal blend of a cool, steady breeze against my skin balanced with the warming sensation of the sun!
We begin our walk on the Long Beach boardwalk. As I observe the people, the beach, the water, I am excited about making my way to the sand. It is just as I said while in Jamaica—I’d like to make walks on the beach a part of my daily life. Today I get to live that intention; it’s more than a walk, it’s connecting with that inner beat that is my spirit, my soul, my inspiration.
Long Beach is roughly 60 minutes from Manhattan by railway and this is my first trip—a mere 36 years since making New York my home. Along our walk are the remnants of last week’s Nor’easter including a wooden, trellis-like contraption (now visible due to the storm-induced beach erosion) that seems to stretch from the boardwalk to the rock formation at the edge of the beach.
A flock of birds gathers at our feet; some glide on to the beach to perfect landings; still others soar like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. From time to time as the water rinses the beach, we adjust our walking path just a little bit. We neither resist nor complain when our sneakers get a little wet, we go with the flow of the ocean—an attitude I’ve learned is just as applicable to life.
While we commune with the birds, we appreciate the rocks that sparkle after the incoming waves drench them. We speak very little, allowing each other to experience the rhythm of the ocean. I am so drawn to the water—whether it’s the ocean or the sea. I can feel it in me whether I am in it, walking alongside it or thinking about it. This connection reminds me of what President Kennedy spoke of in a speech he delivered at the America Cup races in Newport, Rhode Island in September 1962:
I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.
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