are two things that are a common fixture on the gorgeous beaches off the coast's of Portugal. They give definition to the churning waters that thunder against the coast. It is an incredible sight to see. When the water turns furious during the night, as if a struggle for power between land and sea had erupted, the coast becomes engulfed and upper regions of the beach are no longer dry-zones. The rock formations are at times minute and barely noticeable. As fast as a world class sprinter can run a 100 meters, a look further up the coast can give way to enormous structures. Surely unconquerable water for a vessel. This was in part the reason the Portuguese coast was impenetrable for many, many years. With the Portuguese being world class sailors that they were; in their time. When Christopher Columbus was in search of backing his quest to find the Americas he turned to the Portuguese who vetoed his plan. Leading Columbus to trek north to neighboring Spain for a second opinion.
The coast was dominated by the Forts that are strategically placed to ensure the Portuguese waters, people and prized possessions within her land were safely Protected from would be wrong doers. The rock formations around the Forts have sunken many ships due to the lack of visibility. They lie at points so high, and other times resting just beneath the tide. Portuguese will tell you that the amount of victims their water and Forts have taken are uncountable. Visiting one of these Forts over the past weekend was a blast from the past of sorts. The preservation of the artifacts were incredible. You could feel a sense of how it used. Places where canons would lie, and where few still rested, placed at strategic points to allow offense from all angles, outposts for lookouts, that could not have been the most entertaining job to have.
This was a time spent without ipod's or portable dvd players or cell phones! Just think of the times you sit and are bored somewhere with a few minutes on your hand and were able to occupy yourself with electronics. We live off them! Now imagine sitting in a cold brick lookout post for hours at time fighting to protect your country while canons chimed off all around you. Barely eighteen years old, surrounded by eruptions and turmoil. Looking to your left seeing a fallen comrade. To your right, a shattered fortress wall. Staring out only to see the enemy closing in on your position ready to key in and finish off the job. My imagination can tend to run wild more than I could possibly explain, and I wondered to myself. In those waning seconds as the enemy closed in making the end no longer a possibility or a sentence punctuated with a question mark, and now a sure thing. What would be flowing through the one's mind?
Fear? Maybe a feeling of content? Solace? Regret over past relationships or words unspoken to loved ones? What would be left of you when you no longer took a gasp of air? When you did not walk through the doors of your home to greet your family after a long days work? How would the day go when you were not there for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Would the laughs still be as loud? Would the nieces and nephews that you watched grow from a seed that could not hold a bottle, to a vigorous train wreck waiting to happen at every corner remember you? When my time comes what will be left of me? After I stop dribbling a basketball to the delight of fans and team owners how loud will the crowd cheer when I am six feet under and my remains wither?
What happens when the end hurricanes through our lives leaving a wake of sadness and tears. Sooner or later we all become nothing but "Shadows and Dust" (Proximo- GLADIATOR the motion picture). As I sat on the beach thinking back on my life realizing how lucky I am to live my life in other countries pursuing my dream playing basketball. I came over the answer to all these questions. That being the two things that regardless of time, days, weeks, months, years, and so on, remains constant on the glistening coasts of western Europe......THE ROCKS AND SAND.
The tide was just strong enough on this day of self-reflection for surfers off in the distance to combat the rocks of the coast, and the churning waters to catch waves. As I held a hardback journal in one hand & pen in the other critiquing my performance in our match the day prior, I stared out on the beach. The two images I could not get away from remained intriguing me. A particular set of rocks sat lay just where the reach of the tide would totally cover them. Kept my fascination. I was with a group of friends that must have thought I was antisocial. My eyes steady. My left and right brain sparked with astonishment at one simple fact, these rocks. Picture a shark's teeth and imagine it turned into a rock about the size of a basketball. Jutting from the sands. Spaced out perfectly as only mother nature could so that the tide would rush around the rocks covering them entirely. Each tide would retreat and leave a new formation. A new mark in the sand. What caught my eye most was that though we go to beaches and we leave footprints. We watch the tide rush and retreat we laugh as kids, we run from the cold water. Each new tide erasing all signs that anyone was ever there.
Millions of people came to this beach, the footprints had to be unthinkable. But you would never know that anyone had ever been except for those I witnessed that day. Yet the rocks stood as a steady reminder of the past and history of this foreign land I now call HOME AWAY FROM HOME. One day I will be called, my number will be up and I will go onto a better place. When I do what will be left of me? Of you? Will I be the sand, washed away to sea and trampled by tourists?Lost due to red tide like the beaches in my native Florida. Will I be lost? In the years that I live I hope that my life will leave a mark so that when my end comes and I become shadows and dust my friends and family will celebrate my life. Not shed a tear. Crack open a bottle of E & J Brandy and tell all the embarrassing and crazy stories that defined my life and made me who I am.
I want to be remembered the way I think of the soldier in the Forts of Portugal, I want not to be the sand...but a steady reminder of power and strength...when that day comes I will be THE ROCK.
HOOPS WEEK IN REVEIW: With 3 games left in our season spread out over the next month we are now on a 4 game win streak. We won by around 30 points over a team that before my arrival my team had lost to. Things are looking up and we traveled last night for an away game. We won a hard fought game. Wish us luck! Fighting for sixth spot in the playoffs of the top eight teams.
*Due to my post being a bit late this week the next post will follow in just a few days time!!