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Quiet Place

November 7, 2011

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name 
It felt good to be out of the rain 
In the desert you can’t remember your name 
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain 

Horse with No Name”, America, 1971

The song has spoken to me thoughout the years – finding solutiude to work out life’s issues.  There is a place as this on Guam.

A national wildlife refuge with miles and miles of crashing surf and empty beach, a place where the world may be left behind.

I’d taken off to this place with half intents – I’d half wanted to see latte stones at their original site, and half wanted to do a long walk free of distractions.  I started off on the latte adventure first.

For a guy who loved the green canopies of the north woods, the jungle is absolutely breathtaking.  Ground soft underfoot, one could move soundlessly through vegetation while breathing in the fecundity of nature.

About a half mile in, signs of boar rooting were found.

A short distance from this spot the entire trail became a rooting area, fresh soil overturned that morning.  At this point, the idea of encountering a 400# boar on his stomping grounds seemed like a Very Bad Idea, so latte were left in favor of the relative safety of an open shoreline.

 There’s something special about a place as beautiful and as desolate as this.

The Pheebs and I have been to Ritidian several times, but we never made it past a rock outcrop at the southern end of the refuge.  My immediate goal was to do just that.

Water, wind a sea do stange things to rock, reminding us that even the most durable stuff on the planet is transient.

After a while, my mind went quiet.  I was aware of the surf, the crunch of fresh ground coral underfoot and the occasional whistle of a sea bird.

Quiet times serve to refine and define where we are in life.  A wise man advised one is to follow the run of one’s own river; to deviate from its path is to toil needlessly for a questionable goal.  I believe there are times one must pull the paddle in and drift – if only to see where ones’ river takes them.  The day before, the Pheebs asked me to bring home a seashell.  I’d thought about how many seashells I’d seen (not many) and that a trip to Chamorro Village was needed to get her one.  The weekly crap-on-a-stick ritual of the Village is not may favorite thing to do so I told her no.  The memory of the discussion floated up while walking along the beach.  If a perfect shell appeared directly in my path I’d accept it as a sign – a sign it was time to pull the paddle in and drift a while.

Within a minute of thought’s completion, the answer appeared.

I believe it’s a type of Conch shell, and at nearly 6″ end to end, it’s the largest intact specimen I’ve seen on any beach on Guam.  I saw no other complete shells in five miles of beach.

After nine days I let the horse run free 
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea 
There were plants and birds and rocks and things 
there was sand and hills and rings 
The ocean is a desert with its life underground 
And a perfect disguise above 

I have a shell – and an answer.

Such is the nature of solitude.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 6:39 am


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