Monday, February 23, 2015

I Opened My Hand

It felt as though I had walked into a steam room that was out of control when I stepped outside. The heat and humidity was almost unbearable, and within seconds, I could feel my clothes being drenched with perspiration.
It was a typical August afternoon in New England. However, because it’s New England, there are alternatives to beating the heat. I decided to head for the coastline of Rhode Island. I have a favorite place I like to go to in the town of Little Compton, called Taylor’s Lane. What I like most about this particular spot, is that it allows me to escape the heat of the city and the everyday pressures associated with city living.
After half-an-hour drive, I parked the car at the end of the lane and proceeded on foot through a large field that I believe is owned or maintained by the state. Just entering the field is like stepping into another world. A world that is serene and brilliantly colorful. To the left of the gravel path are small, round, dark, green bushes that are spaced about two to three feet apart and kept neatly trimmed. Planted between each bush are various flowers displaying an array of colors from soft pink to burnt orange, and dark velvety purple wild flowers. Behind the rows of bushes is a lush carpet of deep-green grass stretching out about one hundred fifty yards and dotted with beautiful white and pink flowered dogwood trees.
To the right of the path is a small mirror-like pond with a large weeping willow tree embracing each side of it. Under one of the willows, there is a small stone bench that many people sit on to pose for pictures or to just relax and forget their troubles.
About thirty yards in, the path disappears into the rich green grass and the field straight ahead is completely open with only a couple large rocks that look as though they were placed there to entice everyone passing by to climb them.
It was in this part of the field that I was enjoying the strong breezes carrying the balmy salt-air in from the ocean when I spotted an object glittering in the sunlight. Naturally, as with most people, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to investigate. At first, I thought it was a coin, but upon picking it up, I realized that it was a bright gold colored plastic disc. I almost threw it down until I noticed a design was stamped into it, and for whatever reason, I cupped it in my hand and carried it with me.
At the end of the field is a panoramic view of the ocean that for me is breathtaking every time I see it. I followed a small footpath down the embankment and strolled along the sandy beach about fifty yards where there is a seawall of large boulders placed there by the state to protect the landscape from eroding. There’s one rock that I like to sit on because it looks like a king’s throne and because I find it rather comfortable.
I began examining the gold disc I’d found in the field and was intrigued by the markings that were embossed on it because they resembled a foreign medallion or perhaps an old Spanish coin. I slowly closed my eyes and began to imagine that it was   a gold Spanish Doubloon. I could vision in my mind a huge Spanish Galleon fighting the onslaught of a storm-pitched sea. The captain and crew were desperately trying to keep the ship from being ravaged by the endless battering waves that were constantly driving the ship toward shallow waters and sure peril.
With the entire complement of deckhands struggling to save their ship and their lives from one of nature’s fury, no one noticed or much cared about the small unlashed items that were being tossed or washed overboard, including a small wooden chest containing some papers, small trinkets from different countries and a few gold doubloons.
The chest washed ashore and eventually broke apart from the continuous pounding and grinding surf, scattering its contents on the beach. Some of the items deteriorated over time and the rest were either dragged back out to sea or were buried in the sand to be discovered at some point in the future.
I suddenly snapped out of my daydream when I was splashed by the cold spray of a wave that had crashed on the beach a few feet from where sat. I stood up and became aware that I was still clutching the gold disc and decided to scale it into the ocean as if to fulfill some ancient ritualistic law that states:  “anything found on or around the beach must be returned to the sea from where it came”. At the last second, I smiled and lowered my arm, breaking the unspoken rite. I had a better idea.
Reaching the top of the embankment, I looked back toward that vast expanse of ocean and felt a sense of satisfaction. I turned and started through the field until I reached the spot where I’d discovered the disc. I opened my hand and while reflecting on my dream, I let the disc fall to the ground in the hope that someone else would find it and maybe experience their own little journey through time; their own little escape.
  Chelle Munroe©
   February 21, 2015