Friday, March 10, 2006

the sea, the sea

(I've used this photo before, but I wanted to show you what I was talking about in this post! The wall that looks like it is holding the sea back is the Breakwater)

We went down to the beach this morning. It was too cold to play or to dance so we held hands clumsily, our gloves between us. It was the first sunny morning we have had for ages. We emerged from our cave, blinking in the unaccustomed light.

It was something we had to do. We had to reconnect with our neighbor. The ocean welcomed us with a roar. The tide was going out so the beach was heavy with water. Usually I stop and look for sea glass but it was just too cold today.

We climbed up on the 'Breakwater.' This is a wall that was built to protect the beach and the village from the worst of the weather. On the other side of the beach there is only the sea wall beside the road. On stormy days at high tide the waves crash up onto the road and the houses beyond. It is an awesome sight. It is slightly safer to stand and watch when the waves hit the wall of the Breakwater. I am always tempted to run down across the beach and stand under the waves as they crash against the concrete, swelling up and over the wall and the cliffs. The power and the energy is compelling and addictive. I want to be a part of it.

(This is Mark standing on the Breakwater. Sometimes the waves are so big that they'll be higher than the top of the photograph - we don't stand there then!!)

It was this photograph that made me the most introspective today. (Mark took it!) I love the way that this wall divides the beach from the ocean. It is beautiful in it's unnatural, man-made sort of way. Many times we will go down to the beach to find that the waves have broken through the wall and it is being fixed. Many times they rebuild it, hoping that it will protect the beach and the boats and the village from the pounding of the waves. But the ocean always wins in the end.

I have been reading so many blogs lately (including my own) that talk about people's struggles with letting go, allowing all of the parts, being wild, reclaiming their badness, their instincts, their bodies, their fears and their lives. Liz Elayne called it the 'whisperings of a movement' and I think she's right. So many of us are struggling so hard against being, doing, feeling, knowing so many things. I think that today I will take my lesson from the ocean. It ebbs and flows. It follows its own cycles. As it moves, it dislodges the old muck - leaving it high and dry on the beach. Its energy and persistence can carve rock, hold life, and break down walls. It doesn't do what it's told. And no matter how hard people try to make it otherwise, the ocean always wins.

"Eternity begins and ends with the ocean's tides." - unknown

16 comments:

HoBess said...

You have such a gift for describing the powerful with gentle words and a soothing cadence. I love the ocean, though it is very far from me, and I love this post. Dislodge the muck ... hold life ... break down walls. It was just what I needed after ranting and raving in MicrosSoft Word about something I read in today's local paper. The ocean always wins. Thanks.

lottie said...

oh I miss the sea! my beach in devon has pebbles and can be alternately millpondish and wild - woe betide you swim when it is rough as you end up with bruised ankles. and you're right. the sea is so soothing and just seems to know...

Laini Taylor said...

Love these photos -- they remind me of a couple of things. One was my only trip anywhere near your part of the world, and that was to Cornwall, which I think isn't too near you? But it's my experience with English seaside villages -- Newquay has this amazing little sheltered harbor, and I was so amazed by how far the tide went out -- there was an island that was left "beached" with no water around it every day! I heard that that part of England as well as the western coast of France have the largest tidal disparity in the world, and I wonder if that's true.
The other thing it reminded me of was the Breton fairy tale related in A.S. Byatt's Possession. Have you read that? The book is fab, but this story is only a tiny part of it, but back in college I adapted it into a short story so it stuck in my mind more: it was about the king's daughter who had a tryst with the devil and he tricked her into getting the key to the "sluice gates" (dyke?) from her father, then the devil opened them and flooded the city, and as Dahut the princess was riding away on horseback trying to escape the incoming sea, a saint knocked her off her horse so she drowned, and lives now in a city of the damned beneath the sea. Creepy. But yes, your description of the sea breaking through that wall DID bring that to my mind, which is very full of fairy tales!!

and I do envy you being so close to the sea. The only time I lived so near was when my family lived in Italy, when I was 9 to 12 years old, and we were two blocks from the Mediterranean! Golden years.

Bohemian Girl said...

my sea sister today.

Caroline said...

Lovely post, Megg. And the sea doesn't just win it is clearly a great teacher too!

This also happens to tie in with something I'm currently reading -
Entering the Circle Ancient Secrets of Siberian Wisdom Discovered by a Russian Psychiatrist
Olga Kharitidi

I've just read about her first experience in journeying and finding herself in the restorative waters of the Spirit Lake.

The Silent K said...

your ocean metaphor is so strong and hopeful. it gave me shivers. (Those pictures too, looks cold there by the water!)

chest of drawers said...

I really miss the ocean, especially in winter when you take more time to look and breath it in. No water in sight here, but I still feel my tides coming in and going out. You are right to move with your natural rythm, there is a time to move and a time to be still.

Sharon K said...

What a beautiful post and the pictures are grand. I also love the ocean, the lake and all the wonders of God and his creations. The brake wall is breathtaking.
Thanks for taking us on the walk with you.

tara dawn said...

This is such a beautiful post. I love your use of the ocean as a metaphor for our own lives, and the way that we are all seeking to live. The ebb and flow...now I must remind myself of the own ebb and flow of my life, and my soul. Beautiful pics as well...thanks to you and Mark both for sharing the beauty of your world.
xoxo,
TD

la vie en rose said...

i'm in that group you speak of. the group out there wanting more...wanting movement, and wildness, and roaring, and showing up, and living fulling... and i'm listening to your words and i'll remember the ocean is my sister.

M said...

I love how you use the ocean to reflect our own lives...wow, you are so a writer! I to am wanting more, wanting to live a fulfilling life. We all share so much don't we? Can I email you sometime??

liz elayne said...

how interesting this is...i visited the puget sound today for some of the same reasons. and searched for sea glass for the first time. connecting to nature in this way. yes.
your pictures are amazing...but the images your words create are what resonate within me this evening. beautiful. thank you.

Alexandra S said...

Megg,
I read your posts of life beside the sea with awe and a twinge of envy. I remember what it was like to live in a small and seemingly "uneventful" town only to discover day after day after day how very wrong I was to ever think small and quiet might equal "dull" or "peaceful." You keep searching under the rocks of where you now live and pulling out treasures. And I simply ADORE your writing style. I know you write novels but you are a natural for non-fiction too.

andrea said...

Many people know what the seaside is like from their holidays but there's something very different about being there in winter -- and you've captured it. I grew up on the coast and I remember the walks I'd take on the beach in winter. There was a magic there -- soemthing so powerful -- that was irresistable. You are very fortunate to live where you do. Hold onto it!

Helen said...

Beautiful - both the writing and the photographs. Helen

Karen said...

During these ocean cycles, these ebbs and flows, it makes it so much easier to have a person to hang on to, (to climb like a ladder) Or at least to laugh your head off with, after you almost drown them.