• James DeVita

Cedar Beach


The ocean can be so very still at times—a sleek, as Melville called it—but not because of the whales beneath but from a mildness of manner of the day above, and of the wind, and the tide. Such moments I find are few these days, but I have seen them. I have stood within them. A stillness beyond description, a mere whispering of wind and waves that seemed to be saying over and over again, “Shhh . . . shhh . . . everything’s okay.” As a boy of fifteen, standing hip-deep in the sea, surfcasting as the sun rose over the ocean, I have been engulfed by this kind of calm. Water, wind, me, the world, quieted. Moments which, decades later, I can never forget. And now, in this time of anxiety and age, when we download meditation apps which ask us to picture a happy place, a place of peace and safety, this is where I go. And I am fifteen again. And I am happy. For untold hours was I happy then, with nothing but ocean, line and lure, to ponder on. What was that time? Such simplicity of hope, perhaps. I see still the silver-skinned lure glittering beneath the surface in the newly spilled sunlight, the water barely brightened; I see still a little-boy’s bare feet and skinny legs standing on the ocean floor, so clear was the water; I see still a little boy hoping only to meet a fish. And that is all. That was the extent of expectation. So silent. So alone. And yet, no fear. What was that time?

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