One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh-
Walking along the gravel pathway I toed a small stone sending it skittering across the ground anticipating the reaction of my companion as she pounced upon it rolling onto her back in obvious pleasure at playing our game. I felt a small bow of smile lift the corner of my lips at her antics but it was short lived as a deep sigh escaped. I was missing my beloved once a year tryst with the sea. A land locked lover of all things sand, surf, sun, shells, and seagulls kind of girl like me can get a little down in the mouth with no seaside visit in her near future.Still scuffing the ground as I strolled along I was delighted to find driftwood on dry land! OK, it was not real driftwood, but silvered weather worn oak twigs that reminded me of seaside finds. I collected a handful thinking how I could use it in an art project. I thought that even though I will miss my trip to the shore that I would still indulge in my annual reading of Gifts From The Sea. I headed to the writing cottage with Miss Kitty in tow to retrieve my copy.As I was about to place my foot on the step I thought I was surly seeing things, but no, right next to the step was a sun bleached shell! I marveled at its presence, a gift from the sea, where no gift should be. Bending slowly I peered at it more closely, yes it surely was a shell. I cradled it in the palm of my hand and examined it with my eyes taking in each twist and swirl from its tiny tip to channeled opening marveling over its intricate beauty. The shell I held in my hand was weightless and open.I knew in my heart it was nothing more than a large snail shell, but still, I was thinking of the seaside and walking along the patterned sands, finding gifts from the sea, cast upon the land by the ebb and flow of the tides and there it was. I was day dreaming of a solitary stroll at sunrise, the rustling sound of sea oats on the salty breeze keeping time with the song of the sea as it undulates to and fro.Mere steps away resting on a rustic shelf sat my summer read, snippets of its text roll through my mind like the lazy waves at the beach..." One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; ...Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choice-less as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."Gathering my land locked lovelies, book, and a much loved painting by Helen Read that evokes the feel of beach side living, I retreated into the cool shelter of the house. The whisper of patience seemed to be the echoing song emanating from the hollow of the tiny shell banishing sad sighs and unfulfilled longings replacing them with faith.Faith, to empty myself of sadness. Faith, to open myself, my heart, wide like the endless expanse of sand, sky, and sea. Faith, to extend my unfurled hand to receive the gift. And faith, to wait expectantly for a gift from the sea. As I settled down in my favorite chair, painting propped at my elbow, land locked treasures arranged at its base, I find again some of the joy in the now, some of the peace in the here.As I opened my book the call of " the waves echo behind me." The shell at my side whispers of " Patience - Faith - Openness," lessons the sea teaches. " Simplicity - Solitude - Intermittency..." There will be other summers, other seaside trysts, other beaches to explore. There will be other shells to find and new lessons to learn.I smile in earnest at my gift from the sea. I would never have discovered it on some far away beach, in a rolling tide, in the cry of gull, in the grittiness of an oat filled dune, or on a solitary seaside walk at sunrise.The gift could only be found in my own backyard - the satisfaction in my circumstances, seeking out simple summer joys, enjoying the moment even if it means merely a walk down a country lane instead of an expanse of beach or reading a book in a simulated but no less inspiring setting. " Perhaps we never appreciate the here and now until it is challenged..."
I am ready to accept and embrace my gift from the sea; " true appreciation of the value of the here and now."Wishing you simple joys, peaceful satisfaction in your circumstances, and a deep and abiding appreciation of the here and now. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Seaside photos were taken at St. Simons Island, Georgia
All Quotes are from " Gifts From The Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh