I will miss this when I leave—the ocean, the sand bar, the boats knocking around in the current, the half-torn tufts of beach grass, roots exposed, barnacles hanging on for dear life.

Standing at the place where the sun first kisses the East, my shadow projecting ten feet farther than my thoughts at the first light of day.

The Guatemalan gardeners, paid barely a dime, always greeting me with the same smile and hello. The gulls and the geese honking.  The clang of a nautical bell off in the distance calling its sailor.  White swans approach, and seeing I have no bread, they hiss.

I will miss this when I leave.

My consultation with God—in whatever form He takes—as the sun rises and the birds fly around in concentric circles. A mallard blocking my way, the rabbits saying good morning.

The way the wind whips the tops of the trees on a stormy day and engulfs me in its embrace. The fog wrapping around like a cloak giving a blind, uneasy feeling. I must listen for the sounds of approaching traffic and hope there are no strange men hiding behind trees.

How the music hypnotizes; twenty minutes of consistent beat increasing in intensity to the height of the song, and I open up my stride and run and run and run before the song tapers off and I relax and breathe.

I pass a construction site, and give a quick wave to the workers showing me their appreciation.

I see the excruciating pain on the faces of people running the opposite way, people who are required to give the runner’s nod—the acknowledgement of “have a good run, we are all suffering together.”

Except I am not suffering.  I am running from the other side of the tracks, the beaten down section, across the busy road where I inhale my daily dose of diesel intoxicants and avoid four lanes of certain death.

I run in between the houses with their orchestrated symphony of sprinklers and through them to the shanty village where overpriced government mandates from out of touch politicians will cause many of these good people to lose their homes.

I run to the million-dollar beach houses with ten floors of twenty-square feet each, all stuck together no different than the shanties; I am claustrophobic just passing by. And I see the sun rise through the boat slips.

I pass the yacht club, still empty, last night’s revelry surfacing in the form of a discarded bottle of some French wine I can neither pronounce nor afford.

I see five churches where I’ve never particularly noticed the Almighty, only congregants racing for relief at the end of the service. Maybe God left early, too.

I know he’s waiting for me at the end of the line, the shore, where water meets land, and I can go no further East.  I’ll watch the end of another glorious sunrise and know there could never be a better moment in time.

I will miss this when I leave.

I see people grumbling on the way to their cars, disparaging their existence. How I Got My White Picket Fence and Was Not Happy.  How the World Owes Me Something. How My Job Stinks. How…I… am… Just…Not…Happy….

Am I happy?

Yes. I am. I am not running from anything. I am not running toward anything. I am happy just to be. I am not fast or slow or working toward a goal. I just am.

Do I miss the adventure of the road waiting before me? Do I long for youth, now that life has been set forth in boxes and defined? Sometimes…and no.

Plans and hopes evolved into roads I have traveled in places where there used to be pathways yet to forge.

If half of life’s joy is in the journey, is half the emptiness when there are no more campaigns to fight?  Passion becomes pattern, dreams become concrete, the same blue sky sits above us all.  It is infinitely beautiful or painfully mundane. I choose beauty.

I’m alone with my thoughts, my music and the twelve-knot gusts of wind stealing my breath like a kiss.

Quiet contentment–the greatest gift to the soul.  I feel so very sorry for those who never get a taste of this freedom.

And I am going to miss this when I leave.