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Chasin’ the Shore

Paul MacCormack

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  the shore, the shore… forever more 

 the shore is where I’m bound 

‘cause it’s the closest place to feeling free… that I’ve ever found 

 those troubles great will have to wait… right now I’m doing fine 

 in a place that is no place at all 

 and a moment out of time 

  “Chasin’ the shore” by Island author David Weale 

No matter where you call home, there are special landscapes where the lines between the everyday and “out there” blur a little bit. Whether it’s the mountains, deep in a forest, or resting on a windblown plain we all have our spaces. I am blessed to live on an island. It’s not a very big island, so the shore is never far from where I am, and for me, that’s a good thing because when the weight of life becomes too much, the shore has a way of cleansing me and helping to restore perspective. 

A long walk on a secluded beach centers me in a way few things can. Add in an abandoned wharf, perfect for a long sit, and it is just the thing to reset the mind. The edge of somewhere has a way of setting things right by reminding you that the only certainty in life is change.  

I am blessed to live on an island. It’s not a very big island, so the shore is never far from where I am...

We live in a world that holds dear to things staying the same. We wistfully hearken back to the way things were, pining after the “simpler times”.  But comfort and simplicity never arise from holding on to the past, or even tumbling headlong into the future. That treasure only reveals itself when you realize that all you have to do is just be where you are.

In time all things will change, including the golf courses we spend our days toiling away on to provide a fun palette for people to play the game of golf. But make no mistake, the places we spend so much of our lives tending  will eventually return to whence they came. They began as wild nature and to wild nature they someday will return. The knowledge of this doesn’t negate the effort we put into them at all. It is just helpful at times to take the big picture approach to life. Every piece of art that has ever been created, shared with the world, and touched someone will inevitably return to nothing. That includes each of us as well.

nathan_mackay.jpgThis past month our greenkeeping family in Atlantic Canada lost a dear friend. Long time TurfNetter, Nathan MacKay (Glasgow Hills Golf Course, New Glasgow, PEI) passed away suddenly. Nathan was 37 years old and left behind his wife Vicki and their three young children. Nathan’s death was a tough one to process, and everyone who knew him wanted to figure out a reason for his untimely passing. But in the end there simply was no reason.  

Appreciating difficult facts of life such as the death of a dear friend doesn’t make the grieving process any easier. Grief has a way of forcing you to pause where you are, whether you want to or not. You can push it away, try to ignore it or even pretend it’s not as bad as you think... but it will get your attention one way or another.

For me, the weekend after Nathan’s passing was a hard one. I was both exhausted and devastated. I could have chosen many different unhelpful ways of coping but chose to venture to the north shore of our little island and let the grief wash over me. As I sat on a long abandoned wharf and felt the waves erode the sand under my feet, the grief for my lost friend held court. Sitting with my sadness and seeing it wash in just like the tide beneath me was powerfully freeing. Being present with my own feelings seemed like the right thing to do after so many days of everything feeling so wrong. In doing so I honoured the truth of my friend’s death and the truth of my own confusion and pain at his passing. Honouring truth isn’t always easy but it is always important.

Being present with my own feelings seemed like the right thing to do after so many days of everything feeling so wrong...

I encourage you to take a moment or two this week to pause and appreciate the ever-changing dance of life as it presents itself to you. Even if things are difficult for you right now, take a moment to be grateful for everything you are blessed with. The truth is that all things will eventually change and pass away. Seek out that quiet place which allows you to connect with something deep inside yourself. You needn’t travel far to return to your own sense of personal peace.



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