I live by the coast – I always have – I suppose I always will. I have resided within a couple of miles of the sea my entire life. I visit the ocean, or at the very least, I see it daily. My memory is full of walks along the beach in all seasons. So many memories, most good ones, some not so good, together comprising a full life. Days too numerous to remember them all in detail, were spent along the New England coast. My life has played out across time and seasons, always against the backdrop of the ever-present ocean. Every one of my senses responds to the seashore. The Ocean feels like a part of my very being. I cannot imagine myself living away from the coast. I visited Florida a while back, and stood on a lovely beach, very different from the rocky stretches I know so well, contemplating the fact that this was the same Atlantic Ocean. That southern beach was very different from what I was accustomed to. I was called during my visit, to spend my time there, making new memories in that place, beside the ocean – as always.
I have so many memories of time spent by the ocean over the years. I remember distinctly, driving to the beach, after supper with my grandfather. One particular evening, I was very young, maybe twelve or so. He parked the car in an angle spot right along the jagged rocks lining the beach. He leaned on the fender while I sat on the hood of the car eating an ice cream cone. I am not sure why this memory, a moment that seems insignificant, stays with me. Every now and then I think back to that ordinary evening, and feel again the emotions of my twelve-year-old self, on a balmy summer evening with my Papa. I remember that we watched the waves break gently and recede, and we talked about how there were always more waves behind those front-runners. We commented on how the ocean seemed to go on forever, and how it made us feel so small there on the shore. We talked about the waves, and tides and so much more.
Papa was a quiet man by nature, but he told a wealth of stories. He told me real-life tales of life by the ocean, and some folklore as well. He talked of the harsh but rewarding life of the fishermen he grew up with. He was born and raised in a tiny, coastal town in Maine. The ocean played an integral part in the community life there in the early years of the twentieth century. It was a simple life. Papa absolutely loved to fish. I often went with him, leaving home in the early morning. It was so chilly heading out at dawn, carrying my rod and a brown lunch bag filled with sandwiches and an icy bottle of coke. His love and respect for the sea was evident in these times we spent together, and I believe, played a huge role in nurturing mine as well. Now, many years later, on a lovely June day, much like the day that Papa departed this life, I stand beside the ocean. The sea still laps the shore, wave after wave, tide after tide – and I continue to marvel at the wonder and constancy of it.
We do not all live by the ocean. I would suggest that wherever you reside, you find the place where you soul is happiest, and visit there often. I believe that this time of respite is essential to the well-being of the spirit. I think that everyone should visit the seashore and experience the healing and grounding of walking there.
Wishing you all a day filled with wonder and light. As always, SHINE !
** cover photo credit to R.Tobin