Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Cleansing Ocean

Despite the progress I thought I’d been making -- calling Sunserve, then setting up appointments with each of the therapists on my list; watching only action/adventure films like X-Men: First Class; listening to loud electronica or world music -- I woke up today feeling worse than I felt that day when I realized I could have happily remained sleeping forever.

Something had taken hold that was so depraved in darkness it was like I was wallowing in mud or quicksand. I really don’t know where it came from and I refuse to believe it’s because I’m being influenced by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Somehow, through the listlessness of this morning, one thing kept calling to me.

The ocean.

So we packed our towels, some bottled water and, with chairs in tow, we headed for A1A.

Once upon a time, the warm, turquoise waters of South Florida captivated my spirit and made me feel cleansed. They were like a balm for my soul. In fact, after moving here, the beach was a place I frequented often. Not just because it’s some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen or the fact that there are many half-naked and pretty boys to look at. Frankly, I don’t think I realized then just how cleansing the ocean can be, though subconsciously I think it was one of several reasons why I moved away from New York and came to live here in Fort Lauderdale.

While sitting on a chair looking at the surf today, watching it roil and listening to it rush in and out, I was reminded of how much I used to enjoy the ocean; even as a child when we’d go -- on rare occasion -- to Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and later, when I was in high school and went on my own, to Sheepshead Bay.

I sat there quietly, my partner beside me, remembering what it once felt like to be worry- and carefree. I watched kids frolicking in the water while nearby parents kept a watchful eye. I felt exhilarated when a lone pelican hovered inches above the waves, gliding like a stealth plane. Then I watched, with a smile in my heart, as a young, cute couple walked before us, hand-in-hand, and lay down several feet from where we sat. They were so lost in their youth, in their attention for one another that something struck me. Perhaps part of this depression has been that I’ve become so bogged down in the bullshit of my life that I’d forgotten to live?

I mean, who cares if I have another insurance bill that was denied? Who cares if not paying the balance of what the insurance company won’t cover, messes up my credit score? Is any of the bullshit troubling me right now going to matter when my time comes and I’m on my deathbed? I hate to put it that way but I must be realistic; we all leave eventually, we’re on borrowed time.

It all made me wonder if it can truly be something as simple as losing touch with the world and myself; living to the point that I become narrow-minded and unfocused, unless it pertains to work or money? Is it possible that perhaps one of the reasons I’m feeling this way is because I’ve lost my balance and lost my way? It would certainly explain why I feel as though I’ve forgotten who I am, along with the things I enjoy and the things that bring me pleasure.

While all these thoughts rattled around in my brain, I was also reminded that the last time I’d been to the beach was for my 45 birthday when, in September of 2007, I had an emotional release that was swept away by the ocean wind, the salty air and the constant churning of the restless sea.

And to think, when my partner and I first met, we used to hit the beach at least once a month armed with towels, suntan lotion and favorite portable game; Battleship.

We also used to take Emma to the beach, back when she was an only child, still a pup, and dogs were allowed on the beach. My partner and I would laugh like lunatics as she’d bark at the water when it receded, then ran away from it when it drew near her. We’d feed Emma pieces of our Chinese take-out dinners at dusk while she lapped up the fresh water we poured in her bowl and we washed down our meal with wine from a sippy cup; no bottles on the ocean allowed, you see.

They weren’t perhaps the most romantic of moments but, in a way, they were to me. No worries about…well, anything! We just sat and lived the moment while fantasizing about the future together. A future that was as long as it was all surely before us.

Simplicity in all it’s glory. Who could ask for more?

I’m hesitant to say, or believe, the reason for this depression is that easy. I feel there’s more. But I do suspect a portion of it does have to do with forgetting to have fun. And the best reminder of that was when my partner and I were in the water, bobbing around and being knocked about by choppy waves. We giggled and laughed gleefully, for no reason, especially when a group of scuba divers sprang up behind us like sharks that appeared out of nowhere just seconds after I’d pulled down my swim trunks and I peed in the ocean.

Oh, c’mon! Like you’ve never!

We didn’t stay at the beach very long. Perhaps two hours at most. Still, for those two hours, my spirits were lifted to the point where I could plan for yet another couple of days. I have a bit more motivation.

Coming up this week are meetings with two of the three therapists (I’ve already spoken with one of them by phone) as well as a huge freelance workload. But what I’m most pleased about today is that my partner and I were able to force ourselves out of the house in order to enjoy something we forget was here; something we take for granted every day; something that’s free -- except for parking meters and the gas it takes to get there -- and reminds us to live in the moment with simplicity; even if only for a short while.


  1. Sounds like a great day... and I think I'm going to the nature preserve tomorrow before I do these edits... :) Thanks

  2. Hey LB. Glad to hear you're going to be doing what I should have been doing all this time. Enjoy!