I had planned to write on topics like how not to turn a course into a content dump, about rapid authoring tools, and how performance outcome is related to course design, and other such matters of import to an instructional designer. But today afternoon has wiped the last vestige of all such thoughts from my mind…I can no longer pull out from my memory the careful outlines I had made for such posts…
Currently, I have no idea what I am going to write in this post. Or even why I have started this one…All I know is that I am attempting to capture something so elusive, so fleeting yet so very deeply felt that I am probably going to fail miserably…it requires a proficient wordsmith to capture deep emotions, and I am but an amateur blog writer.
Yet the desire to write it down, no matter how clumsily, is so all pervasive that I am making the attempt in full recognition of the fact that I am not equipped to do so.
I am not overly spiritual and only of a somewhat philosophical bent of mind…I don’t go into spiritual trances ever and have my feet pretty firmly rooted to the ground except for my proclivity to daydream now and then…Even then, most of my daydreams are associated with e-learning and stuff like attending ASTDs and talking to e-learning gurus…nothing spiritual there either…
A sharp backache I often get these days from bending over my laptop for far too long drove me out for a walk this afternoon. It was a gloomy day with the clouds threatening to burst into a shower any moment. Meandering aimlessly, I walked down for sometime till a sign saying “Chalker Beach” brought me up short. The magic word beach did the trick.
I stared at the tree-lined lane turning and twisting out of sight and plunged forth.
I walked on… solitary except for the stray squirrels and some sparrows scolding me from the tree-tops. The lane was deserted…the cottages closed for the winter. The landscape already heralded the winter days with most of the trees now bare of leaves, the tenacious ones clinging on till the last gust of wind would shake them off.
I had no idea where the lane headed or how far away the beach was till I arrived at the spot below.
I emerged through this outlet on to the beach here.
The sheer serenity, the tranquility and peace of it made my throat ache and my eyes burn with something I do not have the power to name. I silently thanked god that there was not a soul there except for the gulls and the waves and a stray crab or two. I sat at this spot for a long while…I don’t really know how long till my fingers began to ache from the bitter cold.
The phrase, “This is providence”, rang like an echo in my head. I am here, in this remote part of the USA, for this one afternoon, to spend these moments with myself, to experience this absolute inexpressible calm that comes perhaps once or never in one’s lifetime, that people spend their entire lifetime seeking.
Chalker Beach defied all notions of a beach. It sported no colorful beach umbrellas or frolicking children with spades and buckets building sand castles, no bikini clad figures romped the beach...
All I saw was an immense expanse of ocean in front, sea-shell covered beach that only my footprints had disturbed below...and heard the constant lapping of waves beating against the rocks pierced intermittently by the shrieks of the gulls swooping down for their meal. The stark bleakness of the landscape was almost frighteningly beautiful and painfully moving. It was as if all the inessentials of life had been stripped away and only the very essence remained.
All the minor inconveniences faced, the frivolous irritations, the petty thoughts, the painful walks through woods on cold evenings to buy dinner rolled away like water off a ducks back. I know now that I would gladly face them all over again, without a complaint this time, for another afternoon like this.
I thanked god I was not in a city like New York, Boston or any of the other places that people pine for. I would want to visit them someday with people I love. But today I am glad to be at Chalker Beach, a spot probably not highlighted on the map of the USA but one that has connected me to myself...