Beach Life (1 and 2)

Beach Life. Part 1. Reason: Mom at 83.

Mommy is a frail 83 year-old lady who had pneumonia eleven years ago. This meant being very vigilant and extra careful regarding the present covid pandemic. What we did was retreat from our formerly crowded community and retreated to our rural home.

But, alas, the idyllic spot hid some camouflaging snakes of the worst kind (opportunistic humans who prey on the unwary). This, together with the distance from mom’s other family members, made her feel unsettled. It took a toll on her nerves and health. She was always worried about this and that.

So, at 82, mom once again gathered her strength to transfer the entire hosehold stuff accross the sea, to the house where she raised her children.

But, alas, the idyllic spot hid some camouflaging snakes of the worst kind (opportunistic humans who prey on the unwary). Mom named the snakes and in return she lost her good health. Her bones and muscles and heart ached, and she longed for the beach once again.

So, at 83, mom got to the beach that was the birthplace of her dear husband, my dad.

She is recuperating, and we hope to enjoy our new beach life. As God wills. Amen.

Beach Life. Part 2. Reality: Heaven Despite Poverty.

Because mom is still recuperating, then I can’t post her picture. Instead, I have here pictures of paradise.

The snakes in this paradise are harmless to us. We have personal immunity against them, so to say. We are free to go where we want in this little beach place, the thought of which is kind of next to heaven.

But don’t let the scenes mislead you. This is rural Philippines. The bottom line is poverty. Always always always. Don’t let the kids’ laughters and the adults’ smiles fool you. In the houses of families who have lived next to the beach for generations, many go by a one-day-one-eat existence. Eating twice a day is almost the norm. Many have lifetimes of debts, incurred for the family’s food’s sake. When torrential rains come, the earth-floors turn to stamping-earth-pads of bare little feet that can’t be stopped from romping around. Sweet innocent souls—muddied arms and feet and gleefully chattering like the noisy morning birds.

Don’t let the blissful looking beach trick you into believing that there can be no sadness in paradise, here on earth. Yet all who come to the water’s edge will say, “The sea breeze does wonders for the soul.” Mom and I will have lungfulls of this sea breeze and she’ll say, “It is best to let one’s mind ripple like water over the cares of this world.”

Alas, many will agree with her.

Finally, I Begin

Written in February 20, 2014.


beach (1)

Three years I surfed the pages,

arms extended, fingers outstretched,

the gray continental sky indifferent to my need for light;

beach (2)

Three years I paced the shore,

back and forth, tracing the break’s contour,

shifting, ephemeral, undulating;

beach (4)

On the beach on the sand that is my brain,

lets information, like water, in,

pass through, then away, soaked;

Three years the troughs and crests and I

kept holding hands and letting go.

beach (5)

The other day I traced the shore at the bus stop.

Concrete platform undulating like lapping waves.

Cigarette butts like flotsam lining the pavement.

beach (7)

I saw the sea foam in my mind.

I smelled the salty air.

I heard the rush and splash.

I felt the breeze in my hair.

beach (8)
A fisherman cleaning his net.

Three years came to pass and I arrived

at how it should have been all along. I have beached.



Today is July 15, 20021.

It was a tremendous relief when my Doktorvater, my dissertation supervisor, finally agreed with how I envisioned my research work to proceed. When I wrote the above meditation-verse, I was celebrating with the sound of the sea in my ears, the wide sky looking down on me and the extensive beach, and my feet getting ready to wade through the vast ocean of information ahead. I knew that I had a very long way to go.

Landing on the beach is also a picture of restfulness. I felt that I have reached a base after a long time of aimless wandering. That was a great happy time, just me and my beach in my head and the almost empty university bus-stop, newly constructed, in Regensburg, the concrete platform edges gently undulating before my downcast eyes as I gaze, in my usual fascination, at the cigarette butts strewn all over the pretty pebbles.

It was a dreary winter day but I felt spring light my spirit.