Right now I’m sitting in a screened-in porch of a super-cute river cottage on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. The morning waves are lapping in perpetual rhythm, bringing little white caps onto the postage-size beach just beyond the screen. A hot summer sun waits impatiently behind a blanket of clouds for that appointed time in mid-morning when it can break through with intensity, bathing all of us here below with warmth and heat. In the cottages around me, the elderly are stirring, watering flowers on their porches and sipping their morning coffee. My family still sleeps contently to the white noise of the tide. The world, at least here, appears at peace.
Brackish river waves happily arrive from the Chesapeake Bay, just off to my right, and from the vast ocean beyond it. They are not hurried in their journey, for waves cannot be rushed any more than they can be silenced. They merely journey, through troughs and peaks, storms and calms, stopping for no one, until they crash or lap at their final destination. White spray or foam against solid ground.
The water is like my life. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to it. Predictably unpredictable, water never loses its allure. It’s always changing, responding, persisting. It challenges me to do the same. Adapt, persevere, rest. Keep moving forward, through hardship and joy, until I reach the distant shore.
In a few hours, the river here will be glass. That’s when I’ll venture out, paddling my way into a lazy current to float contentedly without concept of time or responsibility. I will enjoy the serenity of my life when it’s here. And when the waves begin to swell, I will try to remember this moment—this rhythm of the tide that says life moves forward without my permission or my control, bringing awe and beauty, if only I’ll notice.
Life is a gift I’d rather admire than try to control. I don’t want to miss it. Not its fury and not its tranquility. There is undeniable power and unfathomable splendor in all of it.