Nature opens up my eyes to life

Even for those who live lives of integrity, the end is unkind.

Some say that everything happens for a reason, but that brings little comfort to those in autumnal sunset.

Along the way new life and small pleasures — friends, food, music, nature — make the passage seem worthwhile and purposeful.

After a long, harsh winter, the greening of spring signals that — like a dependable friend — the warmth of the sun can be counted on to stay awhile.

It’s also a chance to escape.

After a long journey, I begin feeling renewed when my senses unmask humid breezes, sand dunes and rhythmic roars.

Walking barefoot past lonely shrubs on shifting curtains of sand, infinite waves and distant ships are unveiled like powerful strangers importing intrigues from mysterious worlds.

As incessant tides recede in white-froth battles with incoming ones, reflective puddles kidnap treasures quickly ransomed by chattering, mesmerized children — under watchful eyes of nesting parents.

Nearby, canopies of squawking seagulls compete for their daily bread.

Wading into the deep — vaguely uneasy about the infinitesimal threat from unseen creatures patrolling their murky world — reward vanquishes risk as I leap into a thunderous wave that skims me underwater in weightless fury, then deposits me like a ragdoll at the feet of amused children.

In that exhilarating moment — spitting out salty grit through echoes of an ancient smile — death has been drubbed on the warm, retreating sand.

Kids, unaware of the battle, continue to play.