I have just returned from a spring break vacation along the coast of Maine. It was early spring so the trees were still bare and few people were on the beach. From the table in my room I was able to watch the sunrise, see lobster boats drop their traps, and hear the rising tide eat up the beach to finally assault the granite boulders below. I walked at low tide.
To stand before the sea is to feel the immensity of creation. Man did not make this. The ocean covers the earth and defines the blue-green marble seen from space. It sloshes from continent to continent as it is provoked by rotation and tugged by the moon. Who made this planet?
It breathes, sighing at my feet in the sand. I breathe too, a slow deep inhale of salty air, exhaling stale air of home and highway, my shoulders relaxing. Breathing in and out. I am aware of my breathing, quicker than the rhythm of the wave-beats but with a regular swell and fall. As long as I repose by the sea it is so.
At low tide the waves lap the wet sand in delicate lacy swirls, wetting my shoes. The scent of seaweed lying in the sun evokes my childhood in a coastal town. Snails cling tightly to wrinkles in the rocks until the incoming tide gives them cover from the hungry gull. The seagulls cry as they rise in the strong breeze blowing onto land or from land out to sea.
I heard a songbird on a powerline singing an intricate and hopeful song, out of place, far from some orchard or woodland. I imagine that he left it behind in order to live at the edge of the wild. I wish I could, too.
The vast mirror of the sea reflects the vaulted sky above. But the color is neither water nor sky – some blend of both. I’ve seen it jade green, opal, azurite, pure quartz-white in the breaking waves, midnight-blue flashing with diamond sparkles. I’ve seen an ocean of fluid mercury when the sky reflects the dull light of the sun below the horizon. The endless variety fascinates me. It is the light at the sea I love. At the ocean’s edge eternity cracks and leaks the glory of heaven.
The sea, filling the shallows with the swiftly incoming tide, rises high in rearing waves, white spray trailing like the mane of unicorns endlessly running to shore. High tide pulls on the cobbles at the seawall with a peculiar tuddle-duddle, tumbling and tugging asunder what man has built to protect the houses by the sea. The high tide is powerful, no longer delicate in its reach. No beach walker challenges the authority of high tide at the seawall. The ocean advances; we retreat. As the tide withdraws we emerge and claim territory.
Walkers pass, eyes on the sand pretending to look for shells but asking to be alone. Each stands for long moments at the water’s edge and takes in the peace of its breathing, the still horizon, the gemstone hues. The sea moves endlessly in faceted planes that swell and fall. She reflects light and we reflect upon her.
My multifaceted life reflects the light that falls on me, my soul sometimes lapping in quiet humility or rising in power, singing or crying, sparkling or dull, moving under the governance of my Creator.
Ruth, this is beautiful. You have quite a gift for expressing what you see and feel. I am blessed that you thought to send it to me.