Sunday, July 15, 2012

Oceanside...

Though there is little I miss about living in Florida those long years ago, I do miss the easy access to the beach, a short drive of fifteen or twenty minutes to my favorite spot where I could find rest and renewal with my feet trailing in the water and the ocean breeze soothing my face. Water has always been a healing, renewing source for me and it is no surprise that in the various religions of the world, it plays a significant role, reminding us of cleansing, rebirth, new beginnings. Perhaps that is what I most miss...that sense of the past being washed away and the present being the only true reality, with the future filled with endless possibilities. I really need to go to the beach!

Renewal from the Sea (From Made for Living, 1981)

          I went to the beach today. It is a place of such miracles, such beauty, such total restfulness, and yet such power. The perpetual murmur of the waves creates a symphonic background for the other beachside sounds, the crying of the gulls punctuating the tidal melody with cacaphonic percussion. And the glorious sun, that heavenly orb, sending forth the light and warmth to bathe our earthbound bodies.

          The sea renews me; it is as though I can regain energy from the never-ceasing kinetics of the ocean tides. Floating on the undulating waves is perhaps, at a very deep level, a return to the womb; in my conscious mind, I only know that I feel tension leave my body as one-by-one the muscles release, relax, and I am filled with a serenity which I seldom attain in any other setting.

          Before me, the horizon is ablaze with the multicolored sails of countless sailboats and my eyes rejoice in the incredible sight of these “sea birds” flying across the water’s surface, so beautifully free from land-bound constraints. Water’s edge is fraught with the wonders of shells and coral, seaweed and driftwood. A small sponge attached to a twig, a lavender-rippled shell, a clump of alabaster-white seaweed- these treasures of the deep have been served up on the platter of the shore for my perusal and pleasure, and I visually absorb as much as I can, to be carefully tucked into memory’s vault.

          Back on the steaming sand, I find that my book takes second place to the sights which surround me. To my lift, a toddler is venturing tentatively into the surf as his delighted parents watch with love-filled eyes. I startle myself with a shout of laughter as I watch his face mirror his amazement, his wonder, his consternation as the waves touch his toes and then race quickly away.

          Directly in front of me is an elderly couple, propped on sand chairs, reading their books. Occasionally they turn to one another and smile, touch their hands, then return to their reading. No words are exchanged not seem necessary; communion of spirits takes place quite wordlessly. On my right are several young people throwing that amazing disc, the Frisbee. Their strong, tanned bodies, smiling faces, and joyful voices give evidence to the Creator’s most wonderful creation and I find myself smiling as I watch their antics, admiring their skill and precision and obvious ‘joie de vivre”.

          Behind me, a family is sharing the afternoon. All five race noisily into the surf with rafts and masks and snorkels, and I half-listen to their good-natured repartee, feeling warm and comfortable and good about sharing their day, even on the periphery.

          Only one things remains to complete my afternoon and then I see them, gliding high above me, seemingly motionless, their graceless bodies now graceful in flight. My friends, the pelicans, patrolling the beach, guarding the shore, creating a brief moment of ethereal beauty as they soar noiselessly in the heavens. Now I can leave. My spirit is refreshed, replenished, renewed; my heart and soul joyfully revived by sight and sound and feel. Home once again- but I shall return another day.

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