I have walked this way too many times to count. It’s a familiar trail over the gentle dunes and down to the lonely beach where my favorite bench-shaped boulder sits like a loyal friend…always ready to shield me from personal storms or give me a place to ponder the mystery of existence, and other deep subjects.
Sometimes I shake my head and roll my eyes and mutter, “Ah…life.” The keeper of the secrets of the universe must have a good laugh over my profound grasp of His creation.
I strain to gaze across the bounding main, half-hoping to espy a great ship of wisdom and knowledge floating by to rescue me from my granite perch. I give myself throbbing headaches from such intense pontification as I drink greedily of sunrises and sunsets and of approaching storms that think they can scare me with their ineffective flickers of far away lightening and low, threatening rumbles.
A few gulls circle, not to hear what brilliance spews from my weary mouth, but to check for food I may have thrown aside. They’re so predictable…those silly feathered creatures…so amazingly predictable. Perhaps they’re not the only ones. This is an elusive idea that has been pushing to form itself into my last, grand literary composition.
I have been pelted with plenty of precipitation through the years. So far, I haven’t been struck down or washed away. My great-grandchildren insist I will end up with pneumonia.
“Grandfather,” they admonish, as if I have no sense at all, “slopping around in rain will be the death of you.”
Why does each generation think no one knew how to function before they appeared to teach the world a thing or two?
They bait me for my unique response.
“Oh…Piffle,” I grumble.
That nonsensical word was my mother’s oft used expression in the midst of whatever niggling frustrations common to all living, breathing beings. I have considered changing my useless retort to “Bah Humbug,” ala Mister Dickens, but it seems a little overdone.
Originality is more my style; a thing for which I am most often chastised, as if we are all the product of matching molds and must think and react in exactly the same ways. What an unendurably boring cookie-cutter existence that would be.
Today I have little interest in sitting on Rocky…the rather silly name one of my progeny named the unusual place I have claimed as my private throne where I alone am dictator. Of course, there’s no one to whom I can dictate, except two old nonchalant dogs that plod along beside me like underpaid bodyguards.
They get their ears full and keep their mouths shut. If only…well, never mind that fleeting, unkind and pointless thought.
I walk barefoot, my trousers rolled up above my knees, and look behind me every few feet to watch the relentless waves erase proof of my passing by. Marco and Polo amble on ahead. Their tracks disappear as fast as mine do.
In one flash of insight, the enormity of what I have discovered washes over me. The premise of my new book has just taken on a life of its own. It’s about each passing age of mankind and how human nature never, ever changes.
Generation after generation arrives, full of its own peculiar slang, fads, fashions, technologies, and codes of behavior. Each smug bunch feels superior to their predecessors; as if they, the fresh batch of mankind, are the smart ones who finally get it.
My parents were scornful of the naiveté of their parents. I could hardly wait to tell mine they were old-fashioned and out of step. My own children morphed into strangers who felt compelled to point out my uninformed grasp of reality. I have some satisfaction in noting my grandchildren have taken on that same, thinly-veiled mantle of condescension, as will their heirs who are growing up so fast.
From the Stone Age to the Jazz Age to the Cyberspace Age…it has been, and always will be that way until we are called before God to give an account of how we each spent our special time on earth.
I start towards the simple cottage I call home, re-energized to begin my last book. I don’t look back. As winter is coming on I doubt if the dogs and I will need to visit Rocky again.
I can almost hear the final chapter being written; or maybe that’s rumbling thunder’s warning for me to pay attention to my own appointment.
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