He stood on a large rock that jutted out into the ocean. He remained straight as though he was a beacon to warn ships of the rocks beneath his feet. His feet and back looked as though they were stuck in the stone. Looking as though he was barely breathing his stare was searching for something which, if it was there at all, it couldn't be seen. I guess he was contemplating nothing more important than himself.
When I walk down the beach attempting to keep my weight below that of a sumo wrestler I not always view these people on the rocks. I see them standing at the edge of the ocean inches from where the water meets the sand or alone on a park bench where people pass but never see them. Men and women come to our coast to stare into something that has always been and hopefully will always be.
I wonder why these people pick this time of their lives to become statues of the sea. I wonder if they regret something that happened in their past. Webster defines regret as, "the mourning of a loss or sorrow aroused by events beyond one's control. " I never could understand the concept of regretting something that happened in the past. It can't be changed by regret because it already happened. If one regrets something that is presently happening all you have to do is stop and if you regret something that may happen in the future; don't let it happen. Regret is such an odd term and it has always scared the hell out of me.
Does staring out into the movement of the ocean help with a loss of a loved one? It is obviously mesmerizing and the sounds that are made, if you listen real close, are the mumblings of time. Gazing into the dark blue water could allow your mind some rest away from the pain even if it lasts for too few moments or even seconds. Loss is another concept that both confuses and scares me.
Do people come to the shore to make important decisions in their life? Could this be where the fork in the road of people's lives makes sense? I've never observed anyone raise their hands in the air and cry, "Eureka" after taking their place in the sand. But, then again, I've never observed anyone leave. This concept frightens me a bit because is this the place where people think their existence should end? Then again, we all came from the sea and are destined to return. Our tears prove this because they are tiny drops from the sea.
Could these people have lost their reason to exist or their sense of importance? Maybe they are newly retired from a job they had for all of their life and after the parties and the wristwatches were given are now wondering what they are going to do. Maybe they are attempting to decide something as subjective as if a God exists. What is a better place to ask then where everything we know of began. Or maybe they have just made the decision that God doesn't exist. Maybe they are staring out into the sea because of this realization that can only equate to depression. If they are looking for perfection I hope they realize that the definition of perfect is simply nothing.
A smile comes to my face with the realization that these people could simply be bored. They could be attempting to get away from family or friends by hiding out in a place where everyone can see them but nobody cares. The opposite could also be true. These people of the rocks, sand, or benches may have just lost their families or friends and are trying to figure out why.
Why don't I walk out onto the rocks and stare like many before me have done before. Maybe I can figure out the importance of contemplating nothing more than myself. I just hope people don't stare at me wondering why I would do such a thing.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine