Revetment

Revetment: Self-preservation?

Something about the word “revetment” is oddly musical to me. Without knowing its meaning, I sensed its purpose the first time I heard it. It is a solid word. It has strength when spoken aloud. The second syllable has a sort of slap to it: re-VET-ment. It doesn’t have the punch of “wall” nor the drag of “reinforcement,” just strength.

So, let me tell you about our revetment. Its stones are a jumble, organized chaos, in a long line along a road initially left unprotected by Hurricane Ike. It separates and protects the road and the immediate row of homes from the constant, bashing surf to serve as a sort of poor-man’s sea wall. Like the beach, it has its own ecosystem and there is much to be said there, but that is more appropriate for my Surfside blog.

In the first four years of home ownership on the island, I may have spent half an hour a week, at most, on or near this feature of our village. My former husband and I drove by it perhaps once a week. Most outdoor leisure time with him was on the beach or on the jetty that marches about .6 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. He and I never walked ON the rocks of the revetment.

Now I go there almost daily.

I clamber over them, pulling trash out from between them, challenging my old bones and muscles. The city has replaced steps down to the (occasionally available) beach from the road above, but, pfft!, climbing over uneven rocks is much more entertaining. If I’m honest, it makes me feel younger (not young) to be able to navigate them without pain or anxiety. Five years ago, I don’t know that I could have done so. Walking, swimming, and climbing for bird rescues, cleaning the beach and roads, leaving my marriage — these things have all contributed to a sense of strength, both mental and physical, that I did not know I had. Yes, the Black Dog makes itself known here and there, but most days that I am on the beach or rocks I feel vivified and hopeful both in terms of my abilities and my future relationships.

Most days.

I cried like a crazy woman this Monday.

I hate crying. My dad always used that ridiculous “spilled milk” phrase on us. Raised stoic Baptist and bottled up, my dad felt there was no place for emotions in our house, except his occasional angry rant, of course.

As a child, I held everything in until the world was quiet, then cried in my room until I was exhausted. (Insert here a soft apology to my daughter and granddaughter for passing down this trait) However, since early adulthood, I’ve allowed my emotions to roll and toss like the Gulf. My boundary against self-expression has been broken down ad nauseum.

That’s a problem as I see it. I want to be like my dad and most of the men I know. I want not to express the things I feel, but just look calmly on while those around me crumble. Lock it all up in iron boxes and smother it with “DILLIGAF”.

So when things looked bleak yet again, after I cried like a baby in the middle of a dirt road while the dog tried his best to console me, I stood up, said a few choice words about the things that I have allowed to hurt me, and decided I would be like Dad. I would build a revetment.

I want the wall around my heart not only to keep this sea contained, but to keep people out. Permanently. I want them to dash their hearts on these rocks and I will stand sure-footed and watch with disinterest.

I want the strength of that word, revetment, and all it implies, in my head, at all times.

Yeah. I know. I know all the reasons NOT to do that.

I don’t care. I’m tired. I’m tired of getting bowled over by the waves.

And I know, based on yet more tears later Monday night, long after having made that decision on that dirt road, I will likely be unsuccessful.

3 thoughts on “Revetment: Self-preservation?

    1. K. C. Dockal Post author

      I will try. It’s been a hard couple of weeks. There are good and kind people in my life. The rocks accumulate all sorts of things and let all kinds of things get through, literally and metaphorically. Good and bad. I plan to do a naturalist’s view of the revetment soon. It’s a world unto itself. It will be on my Surfside blog.

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