Monday, May 3, 2010


The forecast for the day should have read: hail and snow, intermixed with sunshine, gale-force winds, and the occasional passing hurricane. The morning woke me with sleet striking the window of Catherine Home. The wind sounded like rushing water as it swirled through the village of North Berwick. I put on my plus fours and stood by the window, contemplating. What a beautiful sight, I thought. The force and fury of just a minor storm, hardly disturbing the large brown chickens while bending the flagstick on the 16th, the familiar silhouette of Lamb Island across the timeless linksland asked for nothing. All punctuated by the wind evidenced as a whistle somewhere in the cracks between the stone.

After breakfast, in the kitchen near the ruined half of the house where we talked of renovations and conservatories, we made our way down into the village because it would take more than the weather to stop me from my appointed round. Elsewhere in the world some might question our sanity, but here along this ancient shore no one gave us a second look. National pastime. The weather here isn’t always like this, but it was just one of those days.

One of those days, indeed, when the strength of your heart is brought to the limit. Sailing through the air on a straight and true line was a piece of myself going somewhere with all my concentration behind it. Sometimes, when it seems like everything is trying to stop you, you pass a point of no return. At this point your insides no longer question what you are doing; your constitution allows your muscles to relax and your mind to let go - dissolving itself into that vast universe of peace. Now is the time when your perceptions will make your memories. Letting not one blow pass me by, I stand forward and confidently offer the winds the chance to test me.

In the world, this happens in small ways every day. It has happened in big ways from time to time throughout history and the spirit behind both is the same – freedom and love. Despite the inability to reach a green in regulation there is a sense that all is right, the knowledge that one will turn at the nine and fly home. Somewhere out there beyond the last burn lies the two fives that mark the end of the struggle. At this time you find your thoughts and yourself melting away. Here, between the third fairway and the stone wall guarding the entrance to the green, that spirit allowed me to melt away in anticipation of the day and days to come. Days filled with a heightened awareness born from the brush of the wind. That wind became my voice howling over the links that had long ago become a part of me. The spirit of life and the freedom to live it were swirling around me from every direction. To know that feeling, with all its strength and fury, gives me the peace of mind to understand how to love something.

I’m fortunate enough to say that I am in love. And despite the strength and fury of that feeling, despite all its complications, it is a calm body of water. It is a feeling that has peace at its core, and at its edges is this man, standing in the morning’s light, savoring the howling wind and pushing forth into the course, the world and himself, knowing that nothing can make him give up and go home. Nothing. If only there were guarantees that as surely as the Redan slopes right to left, the spirit that keeps us swinging – that spirit that does not accept retirement- will flow on forever. Yes, it was just one of those days when you really understand what it means to be alive.