Neither Out Far Nor In Deep 

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be-
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep? 

Can you tell that I’m on vacation? Yep, Amy and I are suffering miserably as we sit under an umbrella on the sands of Isle of Palms, our favorite vacation destination. Admittedly, my life isn’t enough to demand a vacation; I simply like some time with the sand and the ocean. Amy, on the other hand, NEEDS a break from life. It’s been too long since she’s had the chance to escape the demands of each day. At any rate, we’re “sunnying and funning” here.
The Frost poem above accurately describes most of the folks around here. We’re tourist from all over the place. I’ve met a man from New York; I’ve talked with another man from just down the road from where we live; and I met a family with a dog named Snoopy. Normally, we’d have passed each other
with a nod of heads at most. However, something happens to folks when we they put on bathing suits. Suddenly, we become a little politer, a little more conversational, and a little more patient.
The beach is where our biggest changes occur. I know that there I become a much more “laid back” individual. Even my movements are slower, although aching joints might contribute to that. I sit in a chair, grab a book and cold drink, and don’t’ move for hours. On occasion, folks stoll toward the water. Some play in the surf, while others move their chairs to the water’s edge to allow the waves to wash over their feet. A few make a quick trip to take quick dips to cool before hustling back to their chairs and umbrellas.
For the most part, vacationers migrate to the ocean to renew. It’s a place where a men and women can stare out into the distance without having others think something is seriously wrong with them. We who make the trip simply look out at the vastness of the ocean in awe. It proves to us just how insignificant we are in the grander scheme of things.
Staring out not too far nor too deep is our special way of finding a bit of peace in our lives. Some of us commune with our lord; others reach major decisions about their lives, whether they concern personal relationships, financial problems, or work-related concerns. “Away” from it all is the best place to put balance back into life before returning to it.

Robert Frost knew a great deal about people. Some might say this poem is about the shallowness of our lives and our inability to find insight. I’d rather think that Frost knew how important a closeness to nature is to each person in this world. That’s my take on it, so I’ll end this piece and return to that view that does so much for me. 


So, I recently celebrated my true entrance into senior citizen life. To me, 65 is the correct age for
entering the group, even though AARP mails out membership cards to folks when they reach 50. At any rate, I am a bonafide “senior.” Does this mean I am allowed to fuss and cuss just a little? I hope so because here goes.
I’m now what many in this world call an old man. My hair has been gray for years, but of late, its seems to be racing to the crown of my head much faster than in previous years. I’ve never been a muscle- bound man, but at least things were firm, or at least they used to me. My skinny legs are now matched by my skinny arms. My belly
seems to round out more each day despite the walking and exercise I get. Even my chest is trying to slide to my navel. A gym membership offered through my insurance might stop the atrophy and even provide a bit more tone and endurance. I’m trying to find a suitable time for exercise at the Y, but other things interrupt my visiting schedule.
For some reason, missing my mother surfaced this birthday. That’s a bit silly for a 65 year-old man, especially since mother has been gone for more than 20 years. Still, I’ve thought about her and wondered what she’d think about all that’s transpired. She always wanted the back section of woods cleaned out. These days, the area has a carpet of grass and only a few trees to provide shade. I’ve come up with questions that only she could answer. To be honest, I miss the Melt in Your Mouth cake
that she whipped up for birthdays.  Either plain or iced, the cake was a favorite of our family. A friend asked me the other day for the recipe, but I had to tell her I didn’t have it and now can’t figure out where it might be..
The weather didn’t cooperate this year. Instead of warm temperatures, a mixture of clouds and sun and rain kept us from hanging out at the pool. Oh, my grandson Madden dove into the water, and I got in as well. Upon exiting the pool, I put on a pair of sweat pants, the first time I’ve ever celebrated a birthday in long pants. The blood runs thinner these days.
The biggest birthday disappointment this year came at the hands of Mother Nature, or perhaps it was the result of global warming. The honeysuckle scent never arrived. A few meager blooms on the vines appeared, but that “birthday smell” just didn’t come. I thought that I might have been in the wrong month to celebrate another year, but a check of calendar told me I had the right date. To this day, the sweet honeysuckle smell brings back so many wonderful memories, but it hasn’t been around, and I feel a bit cheated.
This year, the usual birthday excitement didn’t make an appearance. Instead, a satisfying sense of contentment moved in. My children and my grandson again returned home for the weekend to celebrate. Just being with them and Amy is enough to make me happy. So, I suppose the other things that didn’t turn out right don’t really matter after all.

None of us knows how many birthday celebrations we’ll have.  We should enjoy each of them with a thankful heart. This year just didn’t have the same pizazz as previous ones. Still, I am thankful for theth year.
good life I’ve been given and for the many wonderful people who have been a part of my time here. I look forward to the next trip around the sun and pray that I will have the good health and good sense to appreciate it. I’ll do a better job omitting the whining and fussing that have crept into my mind on my 66