Anticipating Master Ni’s imminent departure, my wife, Laurie, decides to accompany us on our next beach walk.
L: “So I hear you’re moving back to China.”
Ni: “Not sure. Everyone cremated there. I want to be buried in the ground.”
Me: “You could have your remains shipped back.”
Ni: “That’s what my son said.” As he shakes his head, indicating displeasure and uncertainty.
As before we walked down the hundred steps to the beach from Shoreline Park. A wave crashed as we descended.
Ni: “Whoosh!” Again the infectious Clear-Lighted Laughter. My wife and I couldn’t resist joining in the merriment of the dramatic surf.
Again the tide was high.
L: “I hear you used to walk on the rocks.”
Ni: “Yes. Like this.” As he began prancing like a young filly. Again the irresistible laughter, which demanded participation - if you were really there.
We strolled the edge, where water met earth – again getting our pants legs wet due to the irregular surging of the tide. Again he didn’t mind and actually seemed to enjoy this rush of life.
Having reached the end of the sand we returned to the 100 steps, which he had paused on in our previous walk. This time he marched right up at a brisk pace. He continued his stride without a pause after we reached the top.
Breathing only a little Ni: “Getting old. Not so easy anymore.”
L: “You’re doing great!”
Ni beamed as he had caught his fish.
Not finished yet Ni: “Time for East Beach?”
Me: “Of course.”
We parked on Cabrillo Boulevard, walked over the grass, through the ice plant, and across the wide expanse of sand to the waterfront. The tide had eroded the sand from the shore so that our walking surface had a steep incline. It demanded an irregular gait – with one leg on the high sand and other on the lower, closer to the ocean – difficult for any body.
After strolling steadily down the beach for awhile:
Ni: “Time to go back.”
We nodded in agreeance.
Ni: “Which way.”
Me: “If we walk up to the grass and sidewalk, it will be easier. If we stay here, it will be harder.”
Ni: “Then we walk back on sand.”
Later after we had dropped him off at his home:
L: “I knew he was going to take the hard way.”
Me: “Why is that?”
L: “He’s not afraid of difficulty and will always take the challenge.”