Posted by: David Weimer | March 7, 2010

Staring at the water (upcoming book excerpt)

This is my earliest memory:  I am walking on the beach with my Aunt Betsy and my mom.  They are holding my hands and we walk in the warm sand barefoot.  They are talking over my head.  I am watching the water to my right as we walk in the dry sand along the shore.  We go like this for a while.  The wind is blowing steady and cool and the sun warms my skin and the sand.  The two sisters sit near a grassy hill.  I am intrigued by a rusted metal rack of some kind, left there with its bottom buried in the sand.  I am unable to guess what it might be for.  I rest within this incomprehension.  I look at the sea.  It may have been Lake Erie, the Great Lake on the east side of Michigan.  We were living in Utica at the time, 12 miles north of Detroit, in Macomb County.  It may have been a smaller, local lake.  I don’t know.

I am standing and staring at the waves, the long, wide view of white-capped waves in regular rows.  Out there, the dancing sunlight on the moving water.  I want it to go on forever.  I want to watch forever and be here with this phenomenon forever.  My mom and aunt notice my fixation and make questioning sounds.  I pay no attention.  They stand up, both of them holding my hands, and start to walk me there.  No!  No.  I dig in my heels and protest until they stop.  They don’t understand because I can’t tell them what I’m doing; that would be a step away from it.  I don’t want to move.  I am not afraid of the water.  I want to stay.

I hope we all still have these moments.  When I stop and stand still, anywhere, I still do.  They are openings.  Like the books I dove into as soon as I was able.  The beach is from when I was three.  It is eternal and I carry it with me wherever I go.  I don’t think my brother was born yet.  My younger sister was somewhere else.


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