Friday, February 05, 2016

Gray Beards on a Beach

They say that beards make you look older. My son, who just shaved for the first time a week ago, has been asking me what I would look like with a beard. I haven’t had one since 1996 so I decided that I’d grow one for the rest of the winter. It’s a bit grayer than I thought it would be.
I’m spending the first half of this week at a conference in Florida. Late this afternoon, we had a break so I went for a walk on the beach. It was amazing. The salt water breeze blew gently through my hair. The warm sun kissed my face. The cool waves of the Gulf of Mexico splashed over my feet.
And there was skin. I spent most of the first 26 years of my life in Minnesota. Walking on a beach in Minnesota in February is a completely different experience. There, you put on multiple layers of clothes and bundle up and cover up almost everything. When you look at other people you usually just see their face and maybe a little bit of their neck.
In Florida in February, things are different and you can’t help but think, “What in the world was wrong with my ancestors? Even when you get sucked in by the beauty of the North woods and the wonders of 10,000 lakes, why would you ever get through that first frigid winter and stay?”
I turned my attention back to the glory of a mid-winter Florida beach. I was feeling good. I was feeling young! I walked north, along the water, taking it all in.
Just ahead, there was a woman wearing a bikini, sitting in a beach chair, ear buds in her ears and a book in her lap as she soaked up the sun. She caught my glance as I walked by and she looked at me and said, “Don’t you just love being retired?”
I’m shaving this gray beard off on Friday when I get home.

No comments:

Post a Comment