Every morning I take my exuberant yellow lab Bella for a walk along the grassy causeway down to the bay. It is usually very early, sometimes even before the sun has risen. Most of the world is still fast asleep, and the silence enfolds me. The tall sea grasses rustle in the gentle breeze. A lonely seagull flying above lets out a mournful wail. A foghorn groans in the distance. A young deer scampers in and out of the brush while a cat perches on a mooring, intently stalking an invisible prey. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with the cleansing coolness of the ocean air. I can taste the salt on my tongue.
As I make my way to the bay, I thank God for a good night’s rest, if I’ve had one. Otherwise, I thank Him for my cozy, warm bed and that the night is over. I thank Him for the people in my life and the love He’s blessed me with. I tell Him my troubles and rattle off a litany of my doubts and fears. A little while later my soul is satisfied and calmness overshadows the worries on my mind.
If I’m lucky enough and it’s early enough, I get to see the sun peak over the darkness of the water with a bright orange hue that paints the clouds a purpled pink. I watch intently as it majestically rises from the water to take its place high in the sky. The rays stretch down like tentacles through the clouds, and I close my eyes, feeling the warmth upon my face.
Searching the horizon to the right, I spy a glimpse of the Barnegat Bay lighthouse. There it is – its beam of light guiding ships in and out of the inlet. On some foggy days, I can’t see it at all. But then a shaft of light rotates over the water, and it’s comforting to know it is there doing what it is created to do.
A buzz from a motorboat of an early morning fisherman breaks the silence. I watch as he maneuvers his boat over the foaming ripples to where he will cast his line for the morning catch. I take another deep breath and gaze over the bay beholding its astounding beauty as the sunrays shimmer across the deep blue of the water. The seagulls circle above, more boats go by, the lighthouse stands stoically in the distance and the cool sea breeze ruffles my hair. God is all around me.
As I reluctantly turn to head for home, I drink in the majesty of it all one more time. Walking in the other direction, if I’m lucky enough, I can see the outline of the night moon fading into the morning brightness of the sky. It’s smiling down at me. I turn down the road along a lagoon to the house and see a robin up on the telephone line and grin. I don’t really understand why she would be in this area in December.
Most mornings I want to stay in bed as all of us do. Today I awoke with a headache and didn’t want to extract myself from my warm cocoon to brave the early morning chill. But Bella beckoned me for our walk, and it’s my duty to take her out to do her doody. As usual, I’m glad I did because now that I have returned, I am refreshed and renewed and ready to take on what the day beholds.