The path to my favorite beach is rather long (made longer so when you have 2 small children walking with you). It’s not atypical for this part of the world, or the Vineyard in particular. I’ve never let it bother me, because it always seemed like an easy price to pay for the fruit at the end.
On this particular path, moments before you can see the water, the path takes a sharp turn up. One last challenge to beach goers, as if the sand, which is now pliable and deep and seems to have a higher gravitational pull than regular dirt, is asking, are you sure you want to go to our beach?” Are you worthy?”
If you make it, the hill crests and you’re greeted with an equally sharp downhill over light sand that steers you down easily into the water of Martha’s Vineyard Sound.
But before the water and the downhill and the uphill, there is a fence on one side of the path. And lined up at its base, is a row of shoes: flip flops, sneakers, sandals. Some just kicked off, some lined up neatly, some looking like they’ve sat there for years. The invitation is for all to drop their shoes and their off-beachness before entering—like you would before entering a home.
The beach, apparently, is that good.
This morning, as I was leaving the beach after a run, I passed a man and his Great Pyrenees as they walked past the shoe fence. The dog was sniffing along on the non-fence side of the path, when all of a sudden, his head shot up and he hurdled over to the shoes—actually, one pair of shoes, some Adidas flip flops—and started inhaling them with his nose and with his gusto. His tail went so ballistic it sent waves of undulation up the entirety of his massive body.
“Yep, those are Lisa’s shoes! Let’s go find her!” The man said to his dog (who he did not look like, by the way).
Oh…to be able to pick the ‘good’ ones out of the bunch. The good people, the people that are inherently ours. The good ideas, the good concepts, the good words. The good choices, the good paths, the good directions.
And, oh…to be able to have them pick us. To literally have them pull us to them, suck us up and into their eddy. Even when we’re busy on the other side of the path.
Image credit: I took this picture with my Blackberry, as made obvious from the poor quality, one morning last week at dawn—having just topped the hill.