Carpe Aeternum

Finding the Eternal in the Every Day

Tides

On our honeymoon, my wife and I spent a day driving along the southwest coast of Ireland. We found a small village on the ocean with a quaint little beach. Since we had been on the road for a while, this seemed like a good place to stop and explore a bit. It was late in the day and most of the families at the beach packed up their things and headed home. The beach was ours.

Don’t worry, this a PG story. This isn’t heading to “From Here to Eternity.”

We decided to get out into the ocean a bit, by stepping on a series of smaller rocks to reach some larger ones further out, hoping to find a tidal pool. This helped us avoid getting into the water. Remember: Ireland, North Atlantic. This was not the balmy Caribbean Sea.

After a few minutes we reached the larger rocks. The ocean spread before us. We were far enough from the shelter of the shore to feel more exposed to the wind to feel like we were more in the ocean than on land. It was truly beautiful. We reveled in the vast expanse.

When we decided that it was time to head back and go get some dinner. We turned around to find most of the stones we walked out on were now gone. The water covered them, as well as most of the beach. The tide had come in while we weren’t paying attention. It looked like we would have to wade to the shore through waist deep, very cold water.

Then we noticed a cliff a little to our right that we could reach by walking over still exposed stones. The cliff stood about twenty feet high with lots of stones protruding to make it a simple climb. A short scramble later we stood on land, rescued from the sea.

This may make it sound like a bigger deal than it was. We barely got wet; we barely got our hands dirty, we didn’t even break a sweat. It wasn’t easy either. I don’t want to under sell this. A few minutes longer on the rock and would have been forced to swim to shore. Had we been another twenty yards further out it may have been truly dangerous.

It surprised me how much had changed so quickly. The tide came in and we didn’t even notice. That’s how I gained weight. Things changed so gradually and so steadily that I didn’t even notice until one day I was fat.

They say live frogs will sit in an uncovered pot of water as it is boiled as long as the temperature changes gradually. If it happens too quickly, the frog will jump out when distressed. But if it is slow and steady, it will never know it is in danger and it will die.

Sadly, I can’t gradually and steadily and unknowingly get unfat. Good things don’t work the way bad things do. I can get unfat steadily and gradually but I have to be mindful of it. I have to focus. I have to work. Getting into a mess is easy. Getting out of a mess takes much more work. Sort of the difference of walking out to the ocean and then needing to scramble up a cliff to be free.

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