Surf, Sand, and Shipwrecks

We were huddled, as if for warmth, each with hands hidden in pockets, heads inclined, an accidental posture of prayer. Our awed silence was as striking to me as the object of our contemplation, and I realized that our long-gone humanoid ancestors had come into self-awareness precisely in such circles of meditation. "There are two kinds of skippers," an old Maine lobsterman said to me once. "Them that's run aground. And them that's gonna."
Even a simple solitary walk on the winter beach by James Carroll provides a glimpse in humane universality, tied in one common destination of mortality.

To behold a shipwreck is to stand before the common fate of every living thing, but to behold it in the company of fellow humans is to stand with the only other creatures who know what it means. Therefore - intimacy. Awe and trembling. Acceptance. Gratitude. It was not the walk on the beach I set out for, but it was the one I wanted.