I sit at my station in the beach store. Computer screen before me. Phone to my ear. Taking yet another reservation. At the same time, waiting on yet another store customer. Weary. In a funk. Another busy Friday afternoon. Already one long, tough week.
A tall, pale-complexioned man walks in. Says I’m here to check in. I say Welcome to Caspar Beach. The greeting sounds hollow to my ears. I try a smile (but don’t feel it) as I ring up his bill.
Giving him his car tag and campground map I look into his eyes. Something there tugs at my heart. Helpless? Resigned? Doomed?
Before I can ponder the mystery any further, he solves it. I have terminal cancer. This vacation is part of my “bucket list.” It’s my first time here. Looks like a nice place.
Willing sudden tears to disappear I give him a genuine smile this time and say You’ve come to a wonderful place. What else can I say to someone who knows that death is imminent. Nothing but the truth!
In the space of a nanosecond, my earlier funk is gone. In its place, the simple awesomeness of being alive and healthy and happy.
The next day I walk to a lonesome, rugged beach unmarked and unknown to strangers and even quite a few locals. I know some people. Living here all their lives; never come to this beach. Don’t even know it exists.
It’s not a friendly inviting place like Caspar Beach with melodious waves lapping the shore, soaring varieties of birds and myriads of sea life, inviting and commodious to all ages and activities.
Virgin Creek Beach is wild, uninhabited, tumultuous. The waves range high, crashing to shore, calling solace to no one, daring only the brave or stupid to enter its waters.
I’m here just because I’m curious, wanting to experience, to savor some alone time.
A lone surfer meanders along the path. Headed for the beach, he wears a wetsuit and carries a surfboard. He’s an older man. Perhaps in his early 60s.
Joy! Tin Can Annie