Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea

Issue 52 by Michael McQuillan

Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea

We can delve into pictures as we would with a text. This one shares insights. To find them I shed sneakers, drag toes through moist sand and breathe deeply. Eyes face the horizon. On a weekday there is no one else here. I drink in the air, sights and sounds, a healing balm for the chaos of our so-called civilized world.

The rock outcropping and wave froth frame this image. Never before has a duck surfaced at Brooklyn’s Coney Island, but this one centers things. The miniscule ship above supports it. The scene’s parts unite, peaceably fulfilling roles. How this differs with the human frequency of violence.

Rock outcroppings stretch halfway across the scene's upper portion. Uneven shapes, reminiscent of Giants Causeway in my ancestral land of Northern Ireland’s County Antrim, invite us to bridge barriers, transcending fears that manifest as hatred.

The silent tourist yacht, a foil for rush-hour's subway racket, crosses, slowly.

I perceive the duck that had seemed out of place as content. It reminds me as it glides along rippled waves to transcend the arrogance of snap judgments. We discern truth when time passes. A drifting mind will hear the conscience voice.

The rhythmic waves are constant, soothing. They reliably advance and recede, gently touching sand. I breathe slowly, deeply, in and out to synchronize with the sea.

My silent prayer thanks these parties in paradise. Rain or snow will change it and Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc here, but nature will always restore it to await my return. It comforts me to know that I may come again to explore and heed its lessons.

I slip on my powder blue Skechers. Soft sand shifts to hard concrete as brittle loudspeaker blasts replace lapping wave sounds. I hike to the elevated subway toward the day's work at home.

A commuter rail cacophony dispels my placid mood. Limbs taut, lips tight, I trudge up shabby station stairs, alert to evade maskless riders at the Trump-era’s pandemic height. I reenter an inhumane human world.

The arc of history cannot innately bend toward justice. The idyllic beach scene has diverse parts that harmonize.

May we profit from their example.

About the Author

Michael McQuillan

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Michael McQuillan, former US Senate aide and Peace Corps Volunteer, taught history and chaired the NYPD Training Advisory Council's Race Subcommittee in the aftermath of Eric Garner's death. Mike writes often for the History News Network, Harlem World Magazine and his blog. The Write Launch has published his Creative Nonfiction.