When I was younger, I dreamed of going to see the ocean. I pictured in my mind beaches loaded with beautiful seashells that were just waiting for me to gather. I faithfully watched every episode that recorded Jacques Cousteau's adventures at sea. I loved watching the beautiful fish he often filmed, wishing with all of my heart that I could grow up and experience similar adventures.
I first saw the ocean on my honeymoon. My husband and I traveled to the Oregon Coast. I was fascinated and wanted to become one with the ocean. However, it was the first week of May and I quickly learned after wading in said water that it was too cold to plunge into the depths. Instead, I looked for seashells . . . and learned a painful lesson. While I did find a bunch of broken clam and oyster shells, the beautiful shells I had always envisioned had already been gathered and were for sale in local tourist shops. My husband, sensing my disappointment, encouraged me to buy a few for souvenirs. They're still sitting in a box at home.
The next time I saw the ocean, we were on a family trip to San Diego. Again, I was excited to view the vast deep of the mighty Pacific. Unfortunately, I shredded an ankle two nights before our trip, tearing up the ligaments on both sides of that lovely ankle. It happened during an intense city league volleyball game. The end result: I got to wear a walking cast during our entire trip and for the first 2-3 days, I had to stay in a wheelchair. It was the only way my doctor would allow me to travel. Good times. ;)
Undaunted, I endured seeing Sea World while sitting in my seat of honor. I quickly learned that some people show little respect for those who endure challenges like wheelchairs. I was wheeled to a special window box. At first I rejoiced---I had a great front row seat to Shamu's performance. Then a ton of little kids crowded their way in front of me until my husband chased them away.
When we decided to grab a bite of lunch that day, my children pushed me to the top of a small hill located in San Diego's Sea World, and then they ran to help their father pick out something edible for lunch at a burger joint. Son # 2 forgot to lock the wheels on my wheelchair. I soon found myself re-enacting a scene from a comedy, rolling backward out of control down the hill. Luckily, son # 2 can run fast and he caught me before I tipped over. =) We still laugh about that adventure.
Later that same day, I couldn't frolic in the ocean as I've always wanted to, for obvious reasons. Instead, I watched as my sons enjoyed themselves and I took lots of pictures that I will share at a later time.
The third time I saw the ocean happened while my husband and I were in the New Orleans area. Late one afternoon, after my husband had finished with his business meetings of the day, we drove to the nearest beach. Neither of us took into account the fact that it grows dark much earlier than we are used to in the famed state of Idaho. By the time we arrived at the beach, it was too dark to see the ocean. I still tried to take pictures, but none of them turned out. Somewhat disgruntled, I picked up a white rock and kept it as a souvenir.
I still have high hopes for future ocean adventures. Someday, I plan to snorkel off the coast of Hawaii. I will walk along a private beach somewhere along the California coast and find an elusive sea shell. I will frolic with penguins and pat a nice sea lion on the head. The point is, I'm keeping those dreams alive, despite the unfortunate adventures I've already endured.
My mother has several favorite sayings. One such item is "and then they'll all go to the seashore." To her it refers to eventually enjoying a happy ending. I think this is a good way to view life. To realize that sometimes things don't turn out the way we first envision. Sometimes life takes a difficult turn and we find ourselves rolling backwards down the hill, depending on others to save us from a nasty crash. ;) Eventually, lives and hearts heal, storms end, and the sun will pop back into our lives. Someday, we'll all go the seashore where we will experience that longed for happy ending if we'll but endure the challenges along the way.
Welcome to Crane-ium: thoughts, poetry, lyrics & photography of Cheri J. Crane
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