Last week, Sonya and I got to go to Ponte Vedra beach for a week. The beach was deserted, with the time of year and the offseason. I was running sprints (at least, I call them sprints) by the ocean waves below our cottage one morning, feeling myself getting faster and faster. Some say that I still carry the imagination of an elementary school child. I like to hold to the illusion that age hasn’t affected me, like the commercials that show people who say that age is just a limit we impose on ourselves. Based on my experiences, though, I don’t think the commercials are very truthful.
Anyway, perhaps it was an illusion, since I never use a stopwatch and no one was watching; my imagination is better than any stopwatch. I believe I ran the fastest sprint of my years. I pictured myself like Rocky running with joy and possibility in the streets of Philadelphia! I hope there are still readers who can remember the scene, if not the movie. It is hard to believe, but the movie came out 41 years ago. Ugh. By the way, I mentioned Brad Pitt to a twenty-something the other day, and she said, “Oh yeah, the old actor.” Oh well.
Anyway, like I was saying, I think I ran the fastest sprint ever. No one saw it, no stopwatch recorded it, and the waves quickly washed away any evidence that I had even been on the beach. Gone as fast as a blip. I told Sonya that I thought it was really fast. She is smart about such things and was glad about the story, but didn’t say much after, “Good.” She may have mumbled something about men, but I didn’t quite catch it if she did. Besides, I had a pretty good idea what she may have meant, if she had mumbled something.
We talked later that evening about a bunch of our trips to beaches. We laughed hard about the time I was running down the beach to get a kite into flight, tripped and fell face first in the sand. I remember looking back at her, and she was doubled over laughing. She was so far away that I couldn’t hear her, but I knew exactly what she sounded like, having heard her laugh like that many times before. Essentially, she had watched me run down the beach, bouncing the kite behind me, and then crash into the sand. I had forgotten that you don’t have to run to get a kite into the sky.
We talked a lot more that night about trips with our children, favorite times, places we had been—all kinds of experiences that don’t get washed away, things that can’t be recorded by stopwatches and an audience.