The river stopped short of the ocean. The water had a stale smell, not at all like the paintings of memories. I did not walk through the river like I did time before. My feet eventually found the sand, but it came with no relief.
Years spent at the beach in the dead of winter has made me immune to its early morning bite. I do not feel its chill any more. Not beneath a clear full moon night in August; and not this morning below the cloud-filled sky, threatening to rain.
Once upon a time I ran to the waves, embraced the water, and instantly felt at home. This was not one of those mornings.
I announced myself by my new name, one I have not used at this place before. A stingray lay dead upon the shore, seaweed scattered over where the waves once crashed. I strolled down to the low tide, and waited for the waves to talk to me.
They did. I was remembered, but obviously not by the name I gave. I have always felt the waves talk to me at this place. The energy shifted, but it was still the energy I remembered. And then I felt her.
She stood alone upon the rocks. Her long hair whispered behind her, caught in the cold morning breeze. With her arms raised, she seemed to be calling the tides to change. I knew who she was within an instant. I remembered her well – she used to be me.
The last time I stood on that beach, I said good-bye to my old name, to who I used to be, and thanked her for everything we’ve been through. She stayed there on that beach while I walked away and moved to Sydney.
The low, calm and gentle crashing of waves began to get stronger, fiercer. I could feel her questioning, wondering my presence there. It was not that I was not welcome, but it was her beach now. You left, why are you back?
It was the feeling of visiting an old friend, but so much time has passed between you, you’ve both changed so dramatically you don’t fit together anymore.
But there I stood, visiting that old friend once more, the waves becoming more powerful, creeping up the shore. In typical “old me” fashion, the waves tried to steal my thongs. Oh yes, She was working those waves.
In all, it was pleasant. I went down not knowing what to expect, and I left with the feeling and inner knowing, and most importantly the realisation of just how much I have grown and changed these last 15 months. I lay to rest any worries I once had, any concerns about my growth and change, and allowed the waves to wash them away.
It’s been quite an emotional week, and now I can move forward knowing exactly who I am, not hanging onto the past and what was, with arms wide open to embrace the coming year.
And I saw a sting ray.