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The Life of a Wave

Inspired by Lee Powers 1989-2009, a young man who’s life and death inspired the whole Montrose community to hold each other closer.

One night, somewhere out in the darkest center of the ocean where only the stars held witness, a wave was born.

“Who am I?” it asked.

Hearing a new voice among them, the other waves around it replied, “You are you and we are we, and we are all now here together for we’ve a journey to make.”

So it set off, and riding along with all of the other waves it was never alone. In fact, it was impossible to tell where it ended and the next wave began. When it grew tired, it let itself be filled and pushed gently along from behind, and when it saw others falling behind, it returned the favor. In this way, it swelled to great heights then mindfully drifted small and low again and again as they made their way across vast oceans and seas. After borrowing and sharing its waters with so many other waves it soon found there was nothing left of its original self except for the part that had first asked,

“Who am I?”

It had never bothered to question where they were going because somehow it knew while there was no one answer, there was only one answer. Just being there with the other waves was purpose enough for it to be content. Then one morning as the sun was rising behind them, it spotted land in the far distance and realized it was now ahead of the other waves who had slowed to a calm ripple, yet it couldn’t turn back as the pull from shore was too strong.

“What is happening?” it called back to the others.

Their voices rose together so the wave could hear still hear them. “Oh Dear One! By the time the sun sets before you, part of you will leave us and take part of us with you. Yet, worry not for nothing can ever diminish the part that stays behind. You have taught us that death is not a lessening, for even as you depart us we are filled with something mysteriously beautiful within. Though you may not know it, throughout your life you gave as much as you took, much more, and we gratefully carry with us what you have given, and what you still continue to give.

“It may seem that you have gone earlier than your time, as we have the saddest vantage point of having to watch you go, to continue our journey without part of you, but we can’t know how much longer it will be until we too are pulled ashore. You have made all of our lives and others fuller and sweeter for having been with you along these leagues. And one day, a wave will meet another who still carries part of you, and the two will give and take and pass that part along. In that way, it is inevitable the part you have left behind, before this part of you leaves us, will live forever.”

Soon the wave was too far off to hear them any longer but it was comforted deeply by their loving words for it knew they had all made each other who they were now. As the shore grew nearer, the sun passed overhead and made its way down the other side of the sky. The horizon before the wave became alive with every glorious hue it had ever seen; indigoes and amaranths melded together with golden ambers, ceruleans and saffrons swirled in and out of brilliant coral pinks. It thought that there was nothing more beautiful than this sight until it saw that all around it, the other waves, including itself, were now dancing with the colors, reflecting them back to each other so that, except for the motion, there was no difference between them–sea  and sky.

At last, when the sun and earth touched, and the waters turned shallow and warm, the wave grew tired and let the beckoning pull it closer and closer until it felt a separation of itself, as when it had borrowed and shared its waters with the other waves before. Part of it was left behind and now lay upon the shore, yet the part of it which asked in the beginning, asked once again, “Who am I?” and it found itself being gently pushed and filled with something unseen, mysterious and beautiful, until it crested to the greatest of heights and from all around it the answer whispered:

“You Are.”

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