Monday, October 3, 2011

On the Beach

As I walked the beach this morning I paused to look at the thick white foam gathered in sudsy piles along the water’s edge. Some floated back out to sea, as if it were being recalled to its home in the water. Some seemed to struggle against the motion of the tide, trying to be part of the land. I reached down and scooped up a handful only to see nothing there. All that and only a little dampness on my skin. Salty to the tongue, but otherwise leaving no trace. Does the sea own the foam, only sharing it briefly with the land? So much of it riding the waves, in and out. A private show I could share with no one: there was not another soul on the beach.

I stood looking out to sea, watching the ebb and flow, the push and pull against the sandy shore. Had it been warmer I probably would have stepped into the waves as they washed up to my toes, but already being of a winterset in my mind, I stepped back, just out of reach. Powerful pull, the sea. I admire it, respect it, love the sound and strength of it. Do I like it? Not enough to want to be here all the time, I think. I still like my mountains. But there is so much more sky here!

In the end it comes down to comfort. The quiet solitude of my mountains brings me peace, lets me hear my inner voice, the voices that tell me stories, that fill my head. The sea clears the voices, opens new vistas, tells me new things to think about. If I could live on a mountain above the sea, hear it, see it to the horizon, knowing the mountains have my back, I would go no other place.

Today the sea is in my ears, before my eyes, against my skin. The saltiness is in the air and everything tastes of it. The words I write come from the senses. The sea is so elemental, like the wind, like the sun, like the smell of earth and grass and trees. When we let ourselves we all respond to the natural world from which we evolved. The man-made elements weaken us and take away our sense of what we are, if not who. Who we are, if not why. Why we are, if not where. The sea talks of all of those. Listen. Listen.

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