Your Wake

Last Sunday, I was jet skiing in San Diego Bay. Now THERE'S a sentence that brings me so much joy to type out because 1) I never thought I'd get to see the west coast and 2) I've always wanted to go jet skiing, and it was just as fun as I thought it would be, but that's not the point of this post though I feel it is worth mentioning and really, if you have the opportunity to do it, dooo iiiiiit. Anyway, back to the point, we had the jet ski for about an hour, and could ride all the way from under the bridge connecting San Diego to Coronado, back to the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier we toured earlier that morning. (That, too, was awesome.)

While we were speeding around on the water, we were able to take in both the coast of San Diego and Coronado. The sun was high, but sinking, the water was warm, and the wind was fierce. I couldn't stop smiling--I couldn't stop laughing. That day, for many reasons, was one of the happiest days of my life.

When we rode closer to the shore, there were signs posted every so often.


We passed it once, and I thought nothing of it (besides, you know, slowing down). Then we passed it again, and again, and something started to settle in with me with those signs.

You are responsible for your wake.

Obviously, the signs were only intended to indicate a "No Wake" zone, where the speed of every vessel on the water must be reduced so the rider's wash/wake does not cause any damage to other people in the water, other vessels nearby, or property on the shore. It wasn't meant as anything more than a warning for those in the bay to be mindful. But the phrasing got me. It didn't say "No Wake." It said "You are responsible..."

That stuck with me, and I've been thinking about that second layer of meaning a lot over this past week.

We are all responsible for what we leave behind. We are responsible for the way it rolls over into other people's lives. We can pass through fast and violent, leaving a tail of rough waters at our back, or we can do something a bit slower, a little more peaceful.

I've talked before about how everything we do in life leaves a ripple that spreads out to touch those around us--for better or for worse. But a wake seems more appropriate. And it seems especially appropriate because, in this instance, it considers proximity.

There are places to be fast--to be loud and wild and carefree--but there are also places to slow down and be more gentle. Both are fine, but we are responsible. No one can make us slow down; we don't have to change a thing if we don't want to, but we are responsible for whatever damage we create. We are responsible.

I hope that the wake I leave isn't too rough. There may be times where it can--or should--be, but I want peaceful water around me that doesn't do anyone or any thing harm. I'm mindful of how I move through the world, especially when it comes to those I love and how my actions affect them. I don't want to be a thing of destruction, but instead protection, or affection. I think I'll be carrying this little saying around with me for the rest of my life. San Diego, and this trip we took, is going to stick in my heart forever.


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