I saw a boy lumbering down the beach this morning. He must have been about 10 or 11 years old. He wore striped board shorts and a navy blue short sleeved tee. He carried a yellow pale and shovel, so I imagine he had spent the morning playing in the sand. He had blonde hair and a crinkled face. His face was distorted in anger.
I noted him for two reasons. The first is that he was alone, and he appeared to be in that betwixt age, where you wonder whether or not a parent should be present. So I eyed him to determine this, and that is when I noted the second thing. He wore one shoe on his left foot, laced up nearly normally except the ends of the laces were tied to a second shoe that whomped around behind him and in between his legs as we walked. He had to walk with a wide bow in his legs to keep from tripping over the loose shoe, and so his gait was more of a lumber, and the loose shoe pelted about the sand and his ankles and calves as he lumbered.
What in the world? Why is he walking like that?
He is crying in anger, his face all twisted up red and puffy. He stops and screams out ahead of him. “Aaaaaaarghhhh!!” He waits a moment, then leans forward and screams again even louder. “AAAAAAARGHHHH!!!”
Who is he screaming at? A pair of adults are walking along the beach about 20 feet ahead of him. Are those his parents? They never even look back at him. Do they hear him? Has there been some sort of fight? Shouldn’t they do something to help?
I looked again to the boy. He was certainly old enough to help himself. Why didn’t he just reach down and take his shoe off? Why didn’t he untie the laces and put both shoes on? Why on earth would he choose to just march down the beach screaming and crying?
I realized that I have been that boy. How many times have I gotten myself tangled in my share of messes and then lurched myself down the way, crying and demanding someone wiser come and loose me? When all the while I am perfectly capable of collecting myself, sitting myself down, and removing the obstruction. Then I am free to walk unfettered.