It was morning, and I had taken my father in law to the beach, one last time. I took the solid, cedar box to the balcony overlooking the sea. He had died nearly two years before, but our family was unable to return to Seattle for a memorial.
I took my father-in-law with me as I moved and traveled. He was always quiet, as usual. I teased him that perhaps he’d see some pretty girls on the beach, if only his view weren’t obscured by the box.
Never much of a morning person, so getting up early to show him the sunrise one last time was, I hoped, not lost on him, although he never really said anything about it. I felt the sunset would surely be even better, even if only one of us was actually awake.
I was sure the evening sky would at least spark some conversation… but perhaps he was full from the dinner I had.
At last the excitement arrived. A giant thunder cloud, poring down its feelings onto the ocean before us! The air was blanket heavy with moisture. I clapped when the thunder came, but alas, he did not.
By morning, steaming coffee in hand, I waved goodbye as he waited on the deck, and wandered out onto the rough shore, huge trees adorning it in grassy, wooden necklaces.
I felt a little guilt for leaving him for so long, and that, well, he couldn’t see what I was seeing anymore… or could he?
The brave roots of this enormous tree were so thrilled with their new view! Sky! Clouds! Each other! Roots cannot normally see each other, I am told.
Some trees snuck a rock or two in between themselves, just for kicks. I told him this when I returned some time later. He has not made any new coffee for me.
The glorious blue sky sang even louder than the surf, and my friend, you’ve never seen happier roots than I did that day.
Even the sideways wind got in on it, gurgling with the little tide, tiptoeing across the wood – here, on the beach, and back there, in the box, where my father-in-law waited, quiet, as usual.
My favorite: being with the little ones I like to call, “The Waiters.” Not like people who bring spaghetti to the table – no. I mean, the things that seem to make a living waiting. Yes. The rocks.
But before I could dwell too long on the various hums and sighs of the still-waiting stones and pebbles, the sun arrived – or rather, we here arrived to it.
Boulders are rocks, too, yes, but they don’t seem to wait. They are too busy ducking the waves. At least, that was what I told my father-in-law later.
And this is how we said goodbye, me from the shore, and he from inside the box.
Goodnight, sweet Jose.