There is a light off the coast that burns the dull orange of spoiling fruit left too long in the sun. Pilgrims journey to the shore to admire and ponder the discordant ebbs and flows against the soothing waves. If its origin was ever known, that knowledge has been so long forgotten the elders no longer attempt to sing their guesses to the next generation. There is no lore. There is no reason. There is only the pulsing light. And the waves come in and go out.
The gathered squinting eyes cast hopeful glances to the horizon, while the water laps against bare ankles and soaks tattered clothes. Hope for meaning. Hope for continuance. They cling to one another as the light crawls on their skin and their feet go numb in the cold ocean water. And the waves come in and go out.
A haphazard hierarchy arranges the pilgrims based on age and bravery. The youngest are lifted above the foamy spray of the breakers in the arms of their parents. The elders stand so only half their feet taste the blue brine. The middle generations let the waves wash away the sweat of their tiring lives. And those between youth and adults dare each other to travel further and further towards the light.
Far beyond where their treading feet can touch bottom, far beyond where the rip and pull of the tides tugs at their every stroke, and far beyond where sanity would dictate they stop, they finally stop, gasping for air, and still no closer to their prize. The light sits beyond reach and reason. Turning back, they don’t all always make it to the safety of shore.
Yet, time after time, the pilgrims return. It is the draw of the unknown that calls to them in their sleep. It is the miracle of something outside knowledge that directs them to the beach. It is the wonder of life and existence beyond their understanding and considerable reach that pulls them into the tide. It is proof of something greater than them and it gives them something to strive for. And the waves come in and go out.
However, most don’t think that deeply about it or they would realize that in traveling to gaze upon the light burning off the coast they are wasting time that could be better spent focusing on the pursuits of their own lives. And the waves come in and go out.