He was just going down for a swim. From what I could see, he looked like a local and next thing he's flat on the beach.
The day was light, it was clear, blue, fresh, clean and calm. But the man was lying still, just like the day - fresh, clean and calm. Slowly, people started to gather, as if being drawn to that spot, some lifesavers, walkers, all slowly grouping, and somewhere in their being they realised that the day was a little heavier on that part of the beach.
In the distance a siren called, and the people were just standing, it was hard to know what else should happen. Perhaps nobody was really thinking that a life was ebbing, slipping, leaving.
No it couldn't, not on this day. It was warm, the surf its usual rolling refreshing crash, the blue sky was so clean.
Now the siren louder, one ambulance crew, still no running, hands heavy with boxes, the crew walks to the crowd, bends over, opens boxes. The lifesavers were pressing rhythmically There is a pause while the crew tries to shock the man back to life "thuwamp" the body shakes, compression, mouth to mouth, time stretches on - it is so ordinary, others were swimming, walking on the beach, chatting to each other in the wading pools - 100 metres and a lifetime away from the small crowd.
Another siren, this time louder, another ambulance crew arrives, more bystanders, more shocks, more compression, 25 minutes later, heave ho, lift man onto stretcher, carry up beach, stop half way, lower, more compression, more mouth to mouth, more shocks load into ambulance, pause….. ambulance moves off,
and that was that.
In his togs, no towel, nobody else beside him. He looked so clear.
How would they know who he was?
Would they wait for police to report a missing person after his wife called in, wondering where he was after 3 hours? Normally he just went down for 20 minutes, a swim and a walk. She'd been down with him before. He knew most people, not well, but in that passing way as they strolled, or jogged passed each other on the beach as they had during the past few years.
What was the last thing he had said to her before he left home? "We’ll go head up to the shops later this morning?" Perhaps, "Lets talk to that guy about the gutters, I must get on to that…"
What about his family, his friends....
What a strange day…
I saw far more than a man die. I watched the ripple of life start. I watched lives changed all over the world. I watched, and then knew that I was not watching, I was part of it.
Make every conversation count - there's only time to say what is, love, truth and love, and love.