Melissa and I joined fishermen and tourists and sun-hungry locals on a Saturday date-time this morning, threading our way along the water's edge at Bellingham Bay past high-end establishments and old warehouses.
Life is a collision of worlds here where sky and sea and land combine, where the shouts of a warehouseman crash into the silence of unusually still sea air, resting before winter gales.
A collision? Maybe it's more like a symphony, a unity of sunshine and cold water, of noise and silence, of gray sheet metal and shiny glass facades.
A unity, but not a unison—life here along the shore is a polyphony, a hundred melodies joined in one great song: The little red fire boat sings out "I'll protect" while the fishing boat just beyond intones "I'll provide." The railway behind me announces "I'll carry" and the older couple with their Basset hound, sitting on a bench facing the sea exclaim "I'll enjoy."
The sweat of the laboring man and the crab pots and the nets and buoys provide the deep rhythm "I'll work" while the houses on the bluff, peering out at islands across the water simply say "I'll live."
That's what we're doing here, Melissa and me. We're living out our own unity. More accurately, we're walking together to build our unity while we're living out this day. Life feels like a collision of worlds much of the time: last night's sleep-over at our house mingles with someone off early to work, others off to town, still another headed to school for driver's education already this Saturday morning...
And that's just the beginning. That's just what's going on outside. On the inside, where we live most intensely, we're a hundred ideas and disappointments and longings. Our minds are crowded with the colorful ballads of the past and the anthem, the ethereal song of what we hope life yet may become.
Holding hands, we thread our way along the breakwater between yesterday and tomorrow, straining to hear above the caffeinated rhythm of today the unity of that joins many melodies into a symphony, to hear something more than just "I'll work", "I'll protect", "I'll carry", "I'll provide", "I'll enjoy", or even, "I'll live".
We have to tune and re-tune our hearing as we walk along the rocky shore where water and sky and land unite. In these quiet moments together, we begin to catch it—at once pure and high and rich and deep, throbbing with power and tender as a mother's caress, a snatch of the Great Song that unites all the songs of all the seasons and all the the ages of life.
© Copyright October 2017 by Robert G. Robbins