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A Sudden Mission

Updated on November 19, 2012


While taking my daily walk along Long Beach on Long Island during the late hours of a dank afternoon in late October of 2012, I looked down on the saturated sand along the undulating water lines created by the unceasing movement of the Atlantic Ocean... and found a colorful four-inch replica of Ganesha. I picked it up and saw a price tag on its base: $3.40. A few steps later I found another Indian deity's replica and picked that one up also. All in all, I found four statuettes including the eroded torso of a larger body form. Looking around for more, it was becoming apparent that colorful flowers were also in abundance -indicating a memorial service of sorts had taken place here.

For some reason, I held onto the effigies (even though they began to strain my fingers from their half-worn-down abrasions). As I walked with some strange sense of "I have to do 'something'...", I began to notice the shoreline being "littered" with "dead items": a couple of fowls, the left-over body of a horseshoe crab, a sprawled out blue crab, the head of a large fish. Dead things... so suddenly... and so close together. Usually, I have to walk the entire beach to see a dead-something. Still, I walked on sensing that I needed to see an "omen" of some sort before I'd get rid of these figurines.

Guilty thoughts went turbulently through my mind: my religion forbids me to worship idols... am I doing something wrong? Is that why these dead items are showing up all over the beach...while I'm in posession of these statues. Still, I pressed on. There must be a "right time" to separate from these forbidden "gods". I had taken on some sort of "righteous involvement" and continued to believe in my "mystical mission".

My initial intent was to aim to reach the next set of breaker rocks and to put these pretty relics on them. But as I neared the first batch of rocks, it was apparent that a fisherman was there. I didn't want to be conspicuous with my act of "godly detachment" so I moved on to the next stack of rocks down the beach, already regretting my curiosity's fulfillment in picking up the statues. Closer to the next line of rocks, I saw a large man walking very slowly along my path. Oh nooooo.... he'll see me abandoning these "objects of worship" among the rocks -I didn't want that... so I passed him by as he gently acknowledged me with a short greeting and I continued on to the third stretch of rocks by this shore.

What next? My hands were hurting even more now with this inadvertent journey's burden and I was ready to chuck the little statues into the ocean en masse. But I relented. After all, these were religious items... one must not disrespect another's religion -also, the raging sensation that this would soon be somehow resolved. But how?

My answer was waiting on the rock that I was slowly approaching. On it stood yet another Ganesha statue, same as the one I had been carrying except that it was in perfect condition... as though it were waiting to be reunited with mine and the other remnants in my hand. Immediately I understood and placed my "burden" around the lonely object of worship; letting them unite in the oncoming splash of the sea water... and I walked on.

The shore was free of dead leftovers now. It was clean and pristine. Whatever was amiss and out of kilter a while ago was now back in peace and harmony. My "mission" was completed and my thoughts of guilt had vanished.



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