It's a classic March, Pensacola morning.
We walk out to the end, she and I.
I open my beach chair and sit down.
Delilah slides right down beside me.
Her front paws hanging over the edge.
Alert, watching everything, enthralled.
The water laps gently beneath.
Seagulls, squawk, screech and call in the distance.
The air is a gentle balmy breeze.
A tugboat engine drones in the distance.
I read for a while.
Then pause...

I remember: This low chair beneath me reclines.
I release the handles, lean back and slowly stretch out.
The sky is deep, coastal blue.
Shrouded by a field of low, white, scalloped clouds.
How long has it been since I've just laid on my back,
and watched the clouds?

She scoots right up to the foot of my chair.
Shimmys under my thighs.
As close as is ever possible.
Her tail slapping the deck relentlessly.

The clouds are not moving.
They are still.
It seems unusual...
....Then almost imperceptibly,
Motion is everywhere.
Slowly, the picture is an expanse of change.
Like a snail-paced kaleidoscope.

I am reminded of a day, long ago, in Naples.
Peering into a crate of snails.
Escargot... still living... churning.
Stationary, yet, endless movement.

And the clouds... Still... yet eternally changing.
Holes open and close.
Edges go jagged then smooth.
Shapes appear for an instant and are gone.

How many years since I've laid on my back,
And just watched the sky?
There have been too many other "important" things.
Living could wait.
The voice commands, "Achieve."
"Accomplish... Accumulate... Prevail"
But what about the breeze?
The smells, the sounds, the pleasure of living?
Where have I been?

I consider the big beige building behind me,
at the other end of the pier.
With the green trim,
And the interior inhabitants.
Human lives that unfold,
In harmony and in chaos...
...And the clouds slowly churn.
Silently revealing the motion of eternity.

She breathes one deep heavy breath.
Followed by a forceful sigh.
Her body goes still beneath my legs.
I do the same.
We are here.
There is nowhere else to be.

March 11, 2007