The journey’s long ’til we ascend and little do we know, so, to and fro, we all must go, before we reach the end.

When I was 10 we moved from Washington State to Anaheim, California. The Birthplace of all things magical, Disneyland, Hollywood and the ocean!

I still remember vividly the first time I went to the beach. As I stood on the shore, my toes anchoring me in the sand as the tide swelled in and out and up and around my calves, It felt alive, pulling me, almost against my will, ever closer into that water world. I didn’t know how to swim, so I had a healthy respect and fear for the real time lesson in the power of the natural forces that lay before me, as far as my eyes could see.

I could see surfers bobbing up and down in the distant waves and lots of other people splashing around and playing tag, trying to out run the frothy waves as they collapsed on the warm sand. wanting to feel more immersed in the experience, I inched my way out until the water was just above my waist. With my legs spread and feet firmly planted as far as I could push them into the soft sandy ocean floor, my confidence grew as I braced for the next wave. It seemed harmless enough.

Pleased with myself for conquering my fears, I looked around for my siblings, in an attempt to direct their attentions over to my new found sense of accomplishment. I no sooner had turned my head to the side when I was swept off my feet from the next wave I didn’t see coming.

I remember the details of the following 5 minutes like it was happening in slow motion. The wave knocked me off my feet and sent me churning head over heels like I was doing involuntary backwards summersaults down a hill, except I was underwater, blind from all the bubbles and completely disoriented. I no sooner started slowing down from the churn than It started all over again, pulling and pushing me under the next crashing wave. I remembered thinking I just needed to be able to stand on my feet so I could breath and get my balance and make it back to shore.

Flailing my limbs in every direction, I momentarily surfaced and realized I was facing away from the shore and was being pushed further out to sea. I could no longer touch the bottom and was using all of my strength to try and remember how to tread water. Terrified and exhausted I turned my body towards the shore and waited for the next wave to push me. I didn’t even have the strength to call out for help. I knew If I was going to make it to shore, that this was the only way.

After 4 big waves pushing me towards the shore, I was finally able to touch the bottom, stand up and stagger to dry land. As I collapsed in tears on my towel, I was flooded with simultaneous thoughts. My first 10 year old thought was how much trouble I would have been in if any of my family had witnessed my stupidity. Then I gave myself a good scolding! How could I have been so foolish in the first place, casual about my capacity and shortsighted about my actions and the outcome? At the same time, rehearsing in a memory of slow motion details the events that had miraculously landed me back on my towel, and marveling at the fact that I was still alive!

Gratefully, my ego was the only thing injured that day, but the lessons I continue to learn 51 years later, out live the terror of that moment. I learned that I have a lot to learn about everything. I learned that curiosity and the pursuit of adventure is healthy, but neither can be justified in the absence of wisdom. I learned that being cocky is a reckless version of confidence and cannot be masqueraded as knowledge. I learned that in the midst of the panic and hysteria of being tossed to and fro in whatever circumstance I may find myself in, that I have the capacity to be still long enough to see a clearer path and hear the directions for getting me there. I learned that waves will continue to take me off guard if I take my focus off what lies in front of me, no matter how deep I think I’ve planted my feet. I learned that when I don’t have enough strength to go on, if I surrender my will to God’s, I will find a way to regain my balance as He pushes me to shore.

To and Fro is comprised or mineral glass grown over a natural fiber substrate and solidified in a resin base. The orange tint represents the glow of a past memory like a setting sun. The motion of the piece suggests the necessary tumultuous waters we will all experience along our mortal journey and how we are tossed “To and Fro” until we learn how to break free and find the shore.