Rhode Islanders

Hurricane Leslie kicked up the water along this beach with a ferocity that called all Rhode Islanders to abandon themselves to a thrashing by the surf.

Little people, big people, intrepid old people, frolicked with the complete enrapture of children.

Each wave would build to a teetering tower before crashing on their heads, and yet they emerged grinning ear to ear, hurling themselves back into the sea for more.

If I were a lifeguard, my red flag would have been hoisted, appreciating the grandeur of the waves safely from shore. But with no lifeguard in sight, and seemingly born one with the surf, these Rhode Islanders couldn’t get enough.

Tiny people are one with the fishes in this beautiful land…, I’ve never seen people having as much fun in my life.

I was mesmerized by two young families playing surf frisbee, so intent on making each catch, the water crashing around them was inconsequential.

I had forgotten the fun of sport and full bore mindless effort – the freedom of it, the high of it, and the beauty of bodies in wreckless motion.

A nearby group of manly-men were having a ball surfing smaller waves in kayaks.

Oh to be unfettered by fear….

What is it about the sea that commands our gaze, and has us lose ourselves in it’s unknowable mystery and charm?

Is it the vastness? The beauty? The power?

Looking beyond the clean line of the horizon into infinity?

Is it the face of God? Are we mesmerized by our communion with something too magnificent?

Are we awed by our comparative insignificance, and yet how our smallness is what connects us?

I recently read ‘A Pearl in the Storm’ by Tori Murden McClure, who rowed across the North Atlantic toward Europe in a twenty-three foot skiff, encountering a whale as big as a parking lot yet as gentle as a breeze, and looked into the eye of Hurricane Daneille.

What she encountered in her hundred days at sea is a remarkable tale.
Few of us will experience just how profound is the force of nature.

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