Lend a Hand…

Posted by admin - 01/07/11 at 12:07 pm
Captain Linus took the first and only wave in stride.
It crashed over the bow and drenched him to the bone as we cut through the
He held fast to the black handle that we use to carry the kayak and said

Beyond the surf, the sea squatted on the sand below, rhythmically rocking
back and forth, still dark from the suspended particles stirred up by
yesterday’s storm.
We stroked far off shore, turned and put the paddles to rest, set ourselves
adrift for a gentle ride home, propelled by a lazy ocean. 

"I want to go swimming." Linus exclaimed.
"Go ahead," I answered.
I could tell that he tempered his playful desire with a tinge of

"Are there sharks down there?" he asked.
"Yes, son." I stared into his demanding eyes. "Sharks don’t like to eat
people. It’s okay. You can go." 

He glanced back and forth from the water to me.  I met his gaze evenly.
"Sharks can eat people," he asserted.
Yes, they can," I responded. "But they don’t like to;they like fish." 

Fascinated, I watched his budding, 4 year-old mind whir.
"Little fish?" he questioned.
"And big fish, too, sometimes," I re-affirmed. "They like to eat fish." 

I couldn’t tell whether my words had any impact.
"Sting rays eat people," he asserted.
"No, they don’t. Sting rays never eat anybody.  Sting rays eat seaweed."
Linus wrestled with himself, adventurous spirit versus cautious soul, a
tug-of-war between wonder and fear. 

"I want to go in, Dada," he repeated.
"Jump," I suggested, in a soft voice.
"There are no sharks down there?" he pleaded.
"Yes, son.  There are sharks down there.  But they won’t bother you.  You’re
not a fish." 

For a long while, we floated.  The late afternoon sun turned crimson, sent a
long streak of speckled gold straight to us across the gulf.
"I want to swim in the sun shadow," Linus decided.
"Let me turn the boat for you," I replied, and spun the kayak until the rays
lapped up against the shell. 

"How about now?" I rubbed my fingers through his hair.
"Keep it right here, Dad," Linus decreed, very intent.
I smiled at him and shook my head up and down. 

He began to climb off and then stopped, unsure.
"You can do it," I assured him. "It’s okay," I said once again.
"I want you to hold my hand, Dad," he requested.
"Sure." I took his small hand in mine. "I’ve got you." 

He creased his lips in a show of timid bravery, gripped tightly and lowered
himself into the dark.
Immediately, he grinned. I could see him kicking like a swan under the
He made it. 

My son, as he so often does, reminded me of a valuable lesson.
Sometimes, to confront our fears, we can all use some encouragement and a
helping hand. 

What about you?
Who might you reach out to today?
Whose hand might you accept? 

That’s A View From The Ridge...

One Response to “Lend a Hand…”

  1. Bev says:
    July 6th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I am 70 years YOUNG. You have your game, so do I. It is strange how I become invisible in my wheelchair. A massive stroke stole my ability to balance, but not my smile. I have chased people down just to tell them that their dress makes them look like a million dollars or to tell a man how nicely he looks and holds himself. Sometimes I just make eye contact and give people a great big smile. Virtually every time they smile back.

    Being pretty much confined to home, my goal, when I am out and about is to make ten people feel better about themselves. I feel guilty about that because it makes me feel happiness that I could do that for others.

    Ain’t life great?

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