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Dancing with the Tide

stormy sea

I know as I approach the beach I am gambling with nature.

Low, heavy, ashen clouds dare me, Gracie, and Leroy to venture onto what remains of the scant shoreline. Accepting, we dance with the grasping foamy fingers of the rising surf and I watch distant waves, swollen as watery mountains momentarily suspended as if by magic. The spell breaks, and I release a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding, as the peak of the swell shifts and curls translucent. The awe inspiring upsurge, each as different as snowflakes, crest, and repeatedly fall in upon themselves in loud torrents of thrashing.

My four-legged friends quickly learn the word “up,” jumping onto rocks and tiptoeing along logs, Leroy’s eyes sparkling and Gracie panting with enthusiasm at each new challenge. Moving swiftly, wanting to make the full length of the beach, I’m spurred on by the thunder of the ocean and the wind pushing at my back.

The usually manageable creek crossing is a formidable falls after previous days of rain. Several rocks are inches under swift water that plummets three foot into a well of current. My pounding heart is drowned out by the roar of the encroaching sea and the raging gush before me. Courage or stupidity I set my intention for a safe crossing. A furry friend in each arm and deep rushing water under foot I step boldly, not slowing, choosing each rock without faulty. With a final leap I reach the other side exhilarated and confident knowing it is my only route of return.

Putting my dogs back on the ground together we sprint and dodge the growing surge. I shiver with delight as the wind flattens my hair competing with the ocean to be heard. Gusting, it tears the tops from the crashing waves, blowing spray high in a whirling frenzy.

Timing must be precise between pulsing surf. Dashing forward I “whoop” and the dogs run excited with the game of rounding the cliff. Two large boulders, the final leg of our journey, are in sight. The sky is now dark as thick soot and the breeze has turned to gale.

As I tap the stone and turn back I say, “We’d better keep moving.” But first I stop to give thanks to earth and this rare moment in time.

With tongues out and ears up, Leroy and Gracie are attentive to my every direction and warning. We move as a pack. It’s a beautiful and thrilling ballet. Hopping, running, and leaping we weave our way back to the path leaving the beach. Just as we reach where I’ve parked large drops begin to bend the blades of grass in front of the sidewalk. Rain splats our grinning faces as I wipe the sand from my pups before depositing them in the car.

Eyes wide I behold and relish the beauty and power of all that is before me. Though I wouldn’t have to be, I am very wet before I slide into the driver’s seat because I so want to hold tight to my wild woman. She’s the one fully connected with nature, in her glory as she dances with the tide. And I know she isn’t really racing the rain; she is in concert with the clouds.

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