By Laura D’Ambrosio
The ocean has always been soothing to me. Somehow the surf, the salt spray, the pelicans skimming the blueness, gulls torpedoing in for dinner, the grit in my toes, the abundance invisible beneath the surface, the sheer, vast, power of the sea call me home to myself. I crave, no I need, the sea and seek out beaches as I travel.
On Newport Beach after a long day with a client, my brain boiled with questions and worries. I walked slowly, my head down. As each wave curled over the sand and snuck back into the sea, sandpipers skittered at the edge of the foam and little bubbles popped on the wet sand. The bubbles are the trail of live seashells burrowing back into the cool, moist sand to avoid being washed out to sea or drying out on the surface. Maybe they are also frantically avoiding the long beaks of the sandpipers.
I paused, the frigid Pacific bathing my feet as my shoulders sought the sun’s warmth. The questions about my dwindling retirement account, the desert dry business climate, family agonies, and my own future slowed a little, just enough for my poetic mind to fire. “There’s got to be some philosophical meaning here. Some spiritual lesson I’m supposed to learn.” The writer in me longed to make sense of it all.
Maybe it’s how each of us needs the dark, moist times of our lives to grow, I pondered. Or I can write something about cycles and circles, rhythms and flows, fear and safety. Even the tired old “bury your head in the sand” cliché floated through my mind.
Then I got it. There is no overarching spiritual meaning, no philosophical analogy to be found, no deep lessons. Just the sun warming my skin, the sea creatures avoiding being lunch to a sandpiper, the surf rolling and crashing on the beach, the gulls and pelicans hunting as they skim the waves. And me, walking. And now, paying attention.
It’s just a nice day. One moment of life. I kept walking.