The couple walks along the bluff trail, warmed by the sun, cooled by the barely-there marine layer. Tides are changing, from low on the northbound leg to rising on the way back.
The paths are busy, with a mix of couples and small groups accompanied by dogs of all nationalities. Today’s strollers are older, closer to the end than the beginning of the trip through the universe. Still, none lack vigor. How could anyone surrounded by such beauty be anything but optimistic?
A rugged inlet carved by the relentless Pacific falls away from the bluff. A local artist captures it in brushstrokes and tints, a painting she wants on her wall. He sees the vision but fears the meaning.
The couple has enjoyed many chapters in their life together. Now, living in paradise, they see the world one beat at a time. Even paradise has some rough spots, but these bumps are just bumps.
Their transition from flesh and bone to ash and air will happen someday; no sense wondering when or where. She, a practical and organized person, has a plan for that time. She will scatter to the wind, the sea, and the earth from this bluff, floating uncaptured by the artist’s brush. The soundtrack of her goodbye sits cataloged amidst the list of to-dos for whoever remains to send her off. Should he be left with the task, he will falter and crumble.
For him, his resting place won’t matter. In the past, he would choose a lookout deep in the mountains of a favorite retreat, where they walked and wondered how much beauty could fit into shared memory. But now, the bother is too much, and the memory is full enough. The music has played, the words spoken, and nothing more needs to be done. His attachment is not to a place but a spirit. If left to send him on, she, a practical and organized person, will think of the others sharing the moment.
But these are not for today. The raging searing beauty of the ocean kissing the graceful peace of the green grass under blue sky calls for reflection of what is before them right now. Everything else, well, is everything else, set aside for another day.