AMBIENT THOUGHT – WATERSHED MOMENT: SEEING THE MOON OVER THE GULF
This will be the fourth of seven Watershed Moments in my life. These are some of the most important moments in my life but not all of them. And they are not in any particular order except for the last one I talk about that will be posted on Sunday. After thinking about these moments for years, the one for Sunday is the one I keep coming to for being the most pivotal moment in how I became….well, me.
And now… la luna sobre el agua.
Not all Watershed Moments happen in childhood. This one happened on a trip to Navarro Beach, Florida in the summer of 2012.
The four of us (me, my wife, my daughter, and my step-son) went on vacation with my wife’s parents and her brother. We stayed in a condo a couple of streets over from the beach. The sand that surrounded us was so white, if you ignored the heat and humidity (which was really hard to do), you would have sworn you were seeing snow. My wife and I slept on a horribly uncomfortable pullout couch in the living room. But since this was the second time that I had been to the beach, any beach, I was more than happy to do so.
Now, this isn’t the story about how I saw a dolphin in the wild and how it blew my mind or how we were all stung by hundreds of tiny jellyfish and had to get into the chlorinated pool to ease the stinging pain.
No, this story is about a little exploration to the beach at night with my daughter and step-son.
There was a full moon overhead as we walked down the deserted roads (the area we were at was still rebuilding from a hurricane that had torn up the area not too long before). As I said, the sand was so white, it helped illuminate our way with the full moon. They had brought buckets and little nets to try and catch some ghost crabs that would be out about that time in the surf.
It was still warm at 8:30 PM but comfortable. As the kids screamed and laughed as they caught those little white crabs, I stood in the surf having the salt water wash over my feet and shins and I stared at the full moon and the black horizon it hovered over. I thought about how far away the tip of Florida was from me and how vast the Gulf of Mexico was. Then my mind shifted to my future and how overwhelming it might be. I looked at my daughter and wondered about her future and looked at my step-son and thought about the same. Then I thought of my wife’s and then my own.
I stepped further into the surf and found a small dropoff. Now the water was lapping at my knees. My mind went to how deep the water could get further out and how dark it was. My mind reeled from thinking of everything and nothing in waves like the ones hitting my legs.
I finally got pulled out of my stupor by the kids calling for me and wanting me to join in with the hunt. After one more look at that orangish full moon, one last glimpse into my future, I did join them, catching crabs with my bare hands even with the fear of them pinching my fingers and laughing the whole time.
I still think about that moment and wished I could go back to it. I want to stand there in the water and look up at the moon… and wonder.
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
November 8th, 2018