23 November, 2012

My West Beach

Yesterday was Thanksgiving - an American tradition that takes place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Apparently it's also a Canadian holiday (in October) and an English one (?) but don't quote me on that.

My first Thanksgiving in America (four years ago) was the first time I saw snow; my brothers went running outside in their pajamas and bare feet while I watched from the window and sipped my tea. At 40 degrees Fahrenheit, however, the weather of yesterday's Thanksgiving permitted a morning run on the beach.
And I'm taking advantage of every non-freezing day to enjoy that beach before the temperature plunges to hideous depths.

I've always loved the ocean - maybe because I'm from a landlocked country and associate the sea with childhood holidays in South Africa and Mozambique, or because it's feels like an enormous, unpredictable and beautiful monster. And even though my little beach has smelly brown seaweed, a 6.30am dog called Max that isn't my favourite being in the world, a sad lack of shells, and seagulls that try to end my life by dropping oysters on my head (ok, slight exaggeration...it was just one gull), I'm still becoming fondly possessive of it. And of the early mornings we share. It's my beach.

Each morning on West Beach is different. Sometimes the sun takes-over the sky and smears it with colour. Last month there was a sunrise so shocking I didn't bother watching where I was going and stared sideways across the water as I ran. That day the sun elicited more than the regular "'morning" from me and my walking buddies as we passed each other;
"Isn't it beautiful!?"
"It's gorgeous!"

Another day, the beach was foggy and eerie, the seagulls standing in silence on the sand, watching me. I saw a single headlight zigzagging across the beach in front of me. When it finally passed me the middle-aged man on the bicycle gave me a sheepish grin.

Yesterday was another special morning, with large waves that seemed particularly antsy and restless. It was a high tide, forcing me to run higher up on the small width of the beach than I usually do. My track was a narrow band of hard-ish sand (I avoid the soft sand) between the water, the brown weeds of yesterday's waves and the forbidden territory beyond the beach's edge - territory of those who possess a beachfront home. I felt like I was racing those loud waves, like they were throwing themselves onto the beach and reaching for my feet grey, wet hands.

Mornings like that always make me feel obliged, pushed, left with no choice but to thank God for His beauty.  Sometimes I think, "gosh, thank goodness I'm here to see this! Otherwise no one would appreciate this beauty". But then I realize, the waves, the sunrise, the seagulls, the fog - they're already praising Him, just by being. If I wasn't there, His beauty would still be there. It's always there. It's huge.

So, thanks Lord, for the sea and the beach. For giving me a glimpse of your huge beauty. 

01 November, 2012

Texting Girls

I love working at an American Christian College – it’s amazing the conversations you overhear. Take this morning for example:

Two friends, both male, sitting just inside my office, waiting for an appointment. Both have their phones out.

Eli: So, there’s this girl and –
Mike: wait, stop. Did you just say girl?
Eli: yeah. Girl.
Mike: oh. Thought so.
Eli: So there’s this girl and she’s been texting me.
                She’s been texting me -
Mike: You should reply.
Eli:  - but it’s, like, really weird. I think someone’s using my phone to text her and then deleting the messages and then she’s replying. (reads from his phone) “OMG. You hungry? Come get my ID card from MacDonald.”
Mike: you know her?
Eli: yeah but…
Mike: Maybe she’s just into tall, gangly, hickville kinda guys.
Eli: Maybe.
ok, I said, “which Macdonald, the auditorium or the building?”
Mike: You texted her?
Eli: Yeah.
Mike: that’s like...weird.
Eli: What?
Mike: Yeah man, that’s like, mean.
Eli: Well you told me to.
Mike: I feel like there’s so many times where I’ve told you to do stupid things and you’ve done them.
Eli: Really?
Mike: Nah.