Walks, Old Men and Imagination!
Sometimes a walk takes you further than intended. To places absent on a map or chart. So it was on this day, as I journeyed a quiet stretch of beach where old men tied down old boats the night before. There was no particular order to their wait and their smallness seemed insufficient against the greatness of the sea. I stopped and studied the little boats and wondered of the men who ventured out to catch fish and I wondered of their lives. Men and boats who would return with stories carved from lives at sea. I could see them as they sailed undaunted against the wind that would launch their sails.
Life, however, was not so much about the fish as it was about the stories. The children would feed as much on stories as they would the fish. At night when they gathered for meals the old men would speak about the day. The children would sit with eyes hungry for the exaggeration that made tales worthy of the wait. Old women would smile discretely, but, truth be told, exaggeration would feed alike, the child in them.
Passing by, I could hear the talk between the boats. Perhaps, it was the sea lapping at the sides. Perhaps, that is how the great sea talks to little boats. Talk of old men who come and take them out to sea. They talk of the fish and of stories born for telling. Stories that nourish children and tease a smile from their women. Without old men who go for fish, there are no boats, stories never leave the sea and walks along the beach are resigned to exercise. As it is, I have shared something with the people of the boats, however brief, however faint. The boats have stirred my imagination and fed my steps with more than distance.
As I look back to where the little boats are waiting, the footprints I leave behind, fade wet. No one will ever know that I was here. The old men will not know, that someone passing by, overheard a moment in their lives. Perhaps we only meet in the imagination of some story pulled from sea. Imagination is my moment lapping at the sides of little boats. Maybe, that is how the great sea talks to old men, who walk along the beach, in need of something more than exercise.