I spent last week on the Pacific Coast. The time-share had a full kitchen, bedroom, two bathrooms. A large dining room and living room complete with fireplace. In my heart and soul, I am still there.
The ocean connects to me in primitive ways. I find that I must return each year. When I don’t, I feel bereft, numb, uneasy. Many times while I work, I turn on my sound machine and listen to synthetic waves wash onto virtual beaches. But they only serve for a time, and then I find myself driving four hours to my soul’s home.
I don’t go there for fun. I don’t play volleyball, or ride motorbikes. Not that I think it’s wrong for others, that’s just not why I go. I go to feel the wind in my face, the rain baptizing my body, the surf so loud that I can hear nothing else. I search for shells as I search for peace.
I’ve gone horseback riding there several times, but only one experience has stayed with me. It touched me at a very deep level. The ride out had been very uneventful. The mare was small, about 14 ½ hands. Chestnut. When the wind picked up, and it started to rain, I was at the half-way point of the ride, and I turned. When the storm hit, it hit hard. Suddenly, thunder rolled, and lightening flashed the darkening sky. I could feel the horse quiver with excitement under me, and I let her run. That moment, the horse and I lived. Truly lived in the moment. It is so hard for me to live in the ‘now.’ But at that moment, I had no thought for anything else. No past. No future. No responsibilities. Just living, breathing, now. The horse and I were one being, snorting, laughing, screaming.
Since then, I have loved storms on the beach. Having experienced that feeling, it is never far from me.
This time, Becky and I discovered a sea lion on the beach. The sea lion would rear up and bark, then stand still listening for an answer. Her pup, we were told had washed up on the beach during the storm. He would not be answering her. She didn’t mind the tourists that wandered too closely. Her mind and heart were focused on listening for the answering call of her pup. When the sun went down, and the storm returned, she returned to the waves. Alone. As a mother, my heart went out to her. The sea can be cruel. Just like life on land. Accidents happen. Separation exists. I will never forget her hopeful calls, and how soon they turned to anxiety then despair.
Luckily, Becky loves the beach as much as I do. We were thrilled to find hundreds of pelicans on the Washington shore! I had fallen in love with them at Daytona a few summers ago. Wonderful birds, I love to watch them fish. Swooping down, they glide along the tops of the waves. When they find the fish they want, they fold their wings, and dive straight into the water. They almost always come up with their catch. Our binoculars provided the up close and personal views of their acrobatics!
I’ve loved many beaches. Washington, Oregon, California. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Florida. New South Wales, Tasmania. Beautiful. They all speak the same language. Raw, wild, free.