First Look at the Ocean


I finally got to show them the ocean. 

Photo by David Mercer, 2016

I promised a long time ago I would show it to them.  The older one was in first grade. The younger one hadn’t started preschool yet. I had wanted them to stand next to this mysterious organism to feel its rhythms and consider its unseen depths. 

It took a long time.  School, work, meager finances, and fatigue got in the way. Getting time off, driving hundreds of miles and securing lodging along the way was difficult. It had to be backburnered but I never forgot. It took two decades, two plane tickets, and a journey that included letting go of a career, a marriage, and my religion. But I didn’t forget my promise, even if they didn’t remember my making it.

I took pictures of them when they first saw it, like when they were kids at Christmas and I wanted to capture their reaction as they opened an especially delightful gift.  I took one from behind as they surveyed the beach and the waves for the first time. 

Photo by Sylvia Kirkendoll, 2016

There’s another of the three of us. The happiest looking person is me. My sons’ facial expressions are minimal as they typically are at big moments.  I don’t know how they felt but that’s okay.  My goal was to get them there. What they do with their moment… well they may need to take some time to unpack all that. 


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