“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.”
I swam from the turquoise shallows into the navy deep. Hoping that each stroke would wash away the discomfort that had become my friend. Somedays don’t need words to describe the myriad of emotion; some days need the multifaceted reflection of the sea.
The sandy beaches I grew up on, escaping school to build sandcastles and dune bunkers have become the balm of healing that my adult heart required.
There is a small black notebook that sits on my bedside. It has been my companion now for near on twenty years. The elastic that used to sit firmly around its cover now hangs loosely from time. A small biro pen drawing denotes a time longer than my body can remember when I drew a simple sketch of the sea and a scribbled note alongside.
“The healing balm of the sea.”
The ocean has not always been a place of healing, since I sat on its shores watching one of my best friends surfboards floating out to sea, saying goodbye to him after his funeral. There are also hidden parts of the beaches that hold secrets and memories; I no longer want to remember.
The sea however in the midst of its memories, has taught me a few lessons that have deeply brought the rhythm of healing into my today.
Yesterday’s tide is just like yesterday’s paper
Yesterday’s paper found on the bottom of pot plants and what is so present and hurtful today can easily be washed away by the tide of a new day. The ocean has taught me in the midst of its endless story, that tides come and go. Despite the pain of what happened in the past, finding a rhythm of letting go and beginning again, is an essential healing place in the arms of the ocean.
Everything you need to survive is in its depths.
We often go out searching for another answer, another formula or someone to rescue our healing. However, as I come close to a decade of living back by the ocean, I realise everything you need found in the depths. Your depth, your story and your capacity is as deep and wide as the ocean that covers the earth. Wide and wavering, everything you need to survive is deep within your soul.
Somedays we need to drop everything and tell no-one and stare off into the ocean
Just like an endless novel, the ocean and its breadth is a secret place of knowing that holds all our conversations deep within its fold. In a culture that is constantly telling us to shout out our worth to the multitudes, the ocean calls us to a place of comfort nestled within the quiet. Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring, all bring different hues and possibility. Somedays we need to run away. Run away to the sea and not tell anyone. Ever. Sit within its chasm. Swim within its endless simplicity and recover.
The story that I began today’s prose with was about the day I swum from the shallows into the dark. I was contemplating the complexity of losing my dear friend way too soon. As I swam so deep that the land was starting to fade, in the midst of unfathomable beauty, a small bright orange monarch butterfly came and sat on my salty nose. I tread water completely perplexed by this baffling contrast within nature and was unsure what to do with its meaning.
I decided not to choose comfort. I decided not to overthink its meaning. I settled on the simplicity of this…
That no matter how far away we try to run. No matter the distance of loneliness and confusion that awakens us at night. We are never too far from the shore, for butterflies to come and land on our nose.
Once again on that obscure summer’s afternoon, I remembered the whisper from the decade before. Pause and reflect on this…
“The healing balm of the sea.”
With the perfect combination of making us feel so very small, wild and blue — all in one glance.
Take me away to the sea. With a sandwich, starfish and maybe a coffee tucked in the side. And let’s tell no-one ever.
(not even Instagram)
Happy sea days, wayfarers.
May the insight you are seeking, find you waiting on the shores of the sea.
Written as a part of the Create: Summer Challenge. Sign up prompts found here.
Week One: Ocean.
Blue, Endless, Starfish, Depth, Story, Summer, Pause.