A year ago, I took my 12 yr old son with me to Hampton, NH, for the funeral of my uncle, someone who he met once when he visited us, but really didn’t know. The funeral was unusual for Americans, in that they decided to have it at the home where he lived with his daughter until he died. We stayed at the home, in the room he lived in, while visiting.
It was a cold November and much of the time the temperature was at freezing point or just above. My son was at the Atlantic beach once before, but it was the warm, sandy Florida beach and he was so little he doesn’t remember. So to see the beautiful and raw New Hampshire shore was completely different, for both of us.
The beach in Hampton has both a sandy side and a rocky side. While it was wonderful to be able to walk on a sandy area, the power of the waves hitting rocks and the sound of rocks clacking as the tide drew away was mesmerizing. I was completely in love with the power and overwhelming force of the water on the rocks, pushed by the moon. The rocks and driftwood were also wonderful and we took advantage of every chance to go back to the ocean and explore.
On the morning of my uncle’s funeral, we were asked to leave the home so they could prepare the home for his arrival and the funeral. We, of course, headed for the beach. As we looked at all the new things since the last tide and our last visit, I looked up to see my son and asked him to stay there until I could take this picture.
What he thought and felt is his alone. What I saw was one person, surrounded by the waves, caused by the moon so far away, at the edge of our land with nothing but endless water ahead at the birth of the day we honor my uncle who died. I felt it was so beautiful, how we are all on our own journey. The water could be life, our emotions, or just the ebb and flow of time as it moves us through our journey through life. Perhaps he wondered about the meaning of life, perhaps he thought about the endlessness of one person against the ocean. Or perhaps, it was just watching the waves desperately trying to touch his toes. But that is his experience, not mine to impose on. What is mine is the chance to accept the beauty of his experience and hope that he enjoyed the moment as much as I did.
He did not agree to share the moment initially as much as I wanted to share it with the world, but recently he has agreed to share the picture. I have not asked and will not ask what he was thinking. Even if it was something simple, it is his. I appreciate and respect his desire to have his own moments. I am grateful to have witnessed it.