I’m fascinated by the sea. I love it in all its many moods. I love the exhilaration of blowing wind and stinging spray. I love the feel of waves splashing about my feet. I love the romance of moonlight on the water and the endless shades of blue through all the seasons. I love to swim in it, or sail on it. I love watching the endless breaking of waves. Most of all, I love living here where it’s part of my life every day.
What is it about the sea that draws me so inexorably? I didn’t grow up living by the sea, although my grandparents enjoyed it enough to take me to spend many days at the beach when I was a child. For awhile my father owned a sailboat that I don’t remember much about sailing in, but after a hurricane sank her, my dad spent months restoring her while my brother and I played along the shore for unfettered hours of endless adventure. But it’s not as though the sea was in my blood. I didn’t descend from fishermen or mariners who earned their livelihood from the sea. I didn’t grow up falling asleep with the rote of the sea as my lullaby, and we lived too far away for the smell of salt to be a part of my daily life.
So why has a life lived at the edge of the sea become so much a part of me now? I’ve friends who retired to Arizona, yet I am appalled by the idea. True there is the Colorado River among many others and the magnificent Grand Canyon, but nowhere does that state touch the sea. When I joined the Peace Corps and they told me I was headed to the South Pacific, my first reaction was Awesome! 173 Islands scattered over hundreds of square miles of ocean, how far away can the beach be from wherever I end up?
Before the Peace Corps, and before moving to my current home, I had a lovely house on the shores of St John’s Bay in Maine for twenty years. Now I live on a barrier island in St Augustine, Florida. My kids love to tease me about the endless photos I feel compelled to take of the sun turning the ocean to pink or fiery red and orange, or the moon sending a river of glittering silver across the inky nighttime surface of the sea. The endless waves fascinate me and I’ve taken hundreds of photos of those, too. Sometimes crashing boldly against the shore sending up massive plumes of spray and at other times eddying quietly about the rocks or running up the beach in smooth sheets of glistening water.
But it can’t be just the astonishing and ever changing beauty of the ocean in its many moods because God’s world it full of heart-stopping beauty. Snow capped mountains and babbling streams. Magnifient fall foliage. Gardens in full bloom. Towering redwoods, sweet-smelling frangipani and lilacs in spring. The Aurora Borealis. Sunrises and sunsets. A sparkling fairyland left behind after a winter storm of freezing rain. Or a rainbow stretched gloriously above a rain-drenched world. A newborn baby or an intricate spider’s web. The beauty of God’s works is boundless, from large to small.
So if it’s not the beauty, then why do I love the sea so? Why do I put up with stainless steel that rusts so I can leave my doors and windows open to let the sound and smell of the ocean come inside? What lures me out to walk on the beach every day with my dog? Why am I compelled to take my shoes off and wade in the waves? Why do I feel this incredible sense of belonging and welcome whenever I return from being somewhere not by the sea? Maybe I’ll never know the answer to those questions, but I do know wherever I travel, I always find myself seeking out the sea, looking for the nearest beach, collecting little stones and shells, sea-treasures from all over the world. And I’ve told my kids when my life is done, don’t hold a wake, but have a beach party to remember and celebrate my life instead. Toss my ashes into the sea so some small part of me will live in it forever.
I look forward to seeing your photos but your words paint pictures too. YT3GQ2
Posted by Jenny on 12/18/2013 - 07:07 PM
My Dad's ashes are in the Atlantic, I sprinkled them there shortly after he passed. My Father's father's ashes are there too, as are my Nana's and countless others!I hope it is a LOOONNGGGG time before you join them, but when you do you'll be in good company! Thanks for the walk down memory lane Skye, Love you to little bits and pieces!!
Posted by Linda Robinson on 12/19/2013 - 05:24 PM
My grandson, Sammy's ashes were scattered in the ocean as well. My step-son, who is a mariner with a captain's license got us permission to go out to Boston Light and we found a little rocky beach there to say goodbye to his life on earth and promise to think of him every time we were by the sea. Which, of course, for me, is every day.