LOST and FOUND

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There was fog and some low clouds in the coast when we went out just after 6 this morning. We walked north, as we usually do, picking up trash and hoping for beach glass. I found three pieces in three colors, but my husband had no such luck and thought he would be skunked again.

On our way home, Gary saw what he assumed was a clear jelly fish cast onshore. As is his habit, he gave it a nudge with his foot. Instead of wobbling, the clear object spun around on the sand. Gary had his sea glass. A huge piece found.

In the mean time, fog closed in and as we walked further south toward home, both the waves to our west and the houses fronting the shore to our east became mere suggestions. This reminded both of us of a time my old dog show partner, Bonita, was here with her husband and children. We went for a walk and fog closed in so thick that visibility was reduced to perhaps ten feet. It was extraordinary!

One of Bonnie’s children became lost and searching for the child was impossible, like search for a penny on the floor in absolute darkness. Moments later, as best I recall though it seemed like hours in frantic effort, the child was found. The father began to yell, a reaction I remember from a day long before that when Alan went missing in Lower Woodland Park in Seattle. Gary and I were both nearly hysterical. My mother was with us and commented mildly that Alan had probably gone to the bathroom. But his parents were panicked and running everywhere to search. It was my mother who strolled over to the public restroom and returned our toddler (perhaps he was 4?). Our immediate impulse was to yell at him, but my mother calmed us both.

When we lose those we love, even for an hour or a moment, the adrenaline and sorrow can overwhelm good sense.

That is what we spoke of on our way home. We recognized the faint rooflines silhouetted against the brighter eastern sun.

A friend and his wife have lost a baby at 20 weeks gestation. They are handling this with grace, from what I can see. Hundreds of miles away, I am not there to offer physical comfort. Is there any comfort to be had? I cannot imagine. What they have lost will not be found again. Perhaps they believe in another life and reunion then, but for now, that child is gone as if never was. Lost in fog.

When we have fog like today in summer, this is generally a sign that Portland will have a 100° day. It is what is forecasted. It is a best guess, but only an educated one, not a certainty. There few things certain in life other than morning and loss. We all lose people we love during our lifetime. It is rare to survive to adulthood without gathering ghostly memories of people we will never see again on earth.

Just now, I want to remember the little girl walking out of the fog, my son grasping the hand of his grandmother. Those children are grown now. They, like my friend who lost his baby, will experience the entire range of human losses. They will also find courage and companionship. They will find meaning where they can. They will create and consume. They will share good intentions and make mistakes. And sometimes what they most love will seem lost.

Like all those before them, they will take their losses in hand and search for meaning. And they will, sometimes, find what they need to walk on in the fog.

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