Standing On The Edge Of The Ocean

I was in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, all weekend with my brother and his wife, though I mostly kept to myself, reading, writing, running, riding… sleeping.

Friday night, the moon was almost full over the waves, Wildwood’s ferris wheel glowed to the south. I spent hours and hours sitting on the beach staring out at the sea. I’ve been trying to write a good second and third verse to “Standing on the Edge of the Ocean,” a newish song I wrote a week or two ago. I like the first verse, but I’m still seeking a middle and final act. Which is maybe a fine metaphor for me now. I’m reckoning with all that’s come before, I just trying to figure out my next act.

Today, Memorial Day, I was looking out at the bay before we left, and an older gentleman walked up and said, “You a fisherman?” We got to talking and it ends up that he was D-Day+3, meaning, he landed on Omaha Beach on the coast of France on June 9th, 1944, the tide still red with Allied blood and choked with sunken landing craft. Anyway, he’s 79-years-old now, skin like leather, and he’s talking about an article in the Sunday paper where an American soldier in Afghanistan said something like “I’m just glad I’m here to do my part.” To this the older guy responded,

“That’s a bunch of bullshit. War — what’s it good for?”

I thanked him for being there then, making it easy for my sorry ass, and told him I hoped I’d run into him when I was down there next.

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