Monday, March 4, 2013

The Giants and the Humans

On my latest trip to visit my dad at his place in Destin, Florida, I felt a certain other-worldly pull on me when I stepped on land that was, up until the mid-1960s, a road. The old road was called Scenic Hwy-98 (now called Old Hwy-98), and went through what is now Henderson State Park. I walked up to the threshold of the walkway into the park and followed the boardwalk that leads pedestrians over the old highway, which is now so grown over with shrubbery that it blends in with the rest of the foliage of the park.

Walking the boardwalk was exciting because I made it into more than it was. In reality it was just an overpass, protecting park-goers from the rest of the untouched land in the park that was made to look like Florida - Florida the way it was before its land was founded and settled. I closed my eyes while standing on the boardwalk, planting my hands gently on the railing, and pictured the walk as though it didn't exist, and I was standing in the same place, 50 years ago.

What I felt when I imagined the road 50 years ago was cars racing through me, filled with excited souls seeing the ocean for the first time, expecting to touch its water very soon. I felt an anticipation toward it that was so keen, it almost felt tangible. The sparkling reflection of the sun on the water answered back to them with its own kind of kinetic excitement. The ocean seemed happy to accept them, the same way it did now, as I turned my head to the right, and looked over the sand and the stairs leading up to the boardwalk.

I noticed then how static things are in nature, the things that humans can't touch, and it made me exceedingly happy in that moment. While that stretch of the Old Hwy-98 had been erased and replaced with the national park, the ocean that flowed just 150 feet from it stayed by its side. The ocean flowed on like an immortal giant humanity could never overpower, and that made me happy.

I thought about the mountains, the waterfalls, and other things that were beyond man's control. And those giants made me happy. They made me happy because I guess I don't like change. I like the feeling that certain things in nature must stay untouched.

It seemed in that moment that if the giants could be static in their placement on earth, then I could be happy, because that was a constant that was not up to man's decision - the giants could change if they wanted to.


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