“The beach is truly home, its broad expanse of sand as welcoming as a mother’s open arms. This landscape, which extends as far as the eye can see, always reminds me of possibility. It is here I can listen to my inner voice, shed inhibitions, move to the rhythms of the waves, and ask the universe unanswerable questions.”Joan Anderson from “A Walk on the Beach”
Having been born in a small country surrounded by water, I spent much of my time as a child and young adult by the sea. Joan Anderson’s words resonate deeply.
The beach is home for me, especially in the early morning and early evening hours when the tide is coming in and out and the light is gentle. The crowds have retreated or not arrived yet and there are only a few people who come to stroll and breathe with the waves and enjoy the peace. My soul mates – of sort.
I recently returned from a four-day stay in Block Island, RI. This time we stayed at a B&B near the center of town so we didn’t take the car with us. Block Island is small and walker/biker friendly. Having to walk everywhere made me see things I wouldn’t have observed otherwise and gain a deeper sense of the place.
Our walks to town, the beach, and back became walking meditation. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other, breathe and let my senses open up to the environment. The salty air, the cool breeze, the sound of the wind through the tall grass on the edge of the saltwater pond, the smell of beach roses, the seagulls calling, bikers, walkers, children, and a feeling of peace, of letting go and letting be.
The bed was near the window overlooking the fields. The cool, salty breeze would come through the window through the night. I found myself waking up at 6 am to bird song and the morning light changing the view in front of my eyes. All I wanted was to get up and go. Neal and I would get up, put warm clothes on, and off to the beach we went.
The tide was still low, the sand wet and cool. The sandpipers were hard at work already, chasing the waves, going back and forth with the rhythm of the tide, digging in the wet sand for their breakfast. They went in groups and moved in perfect harmony.
There were only a handful of people walking. Some would smile and say hello, others not. I got the feeling that we were all there to experience this moment in our own way and let each other be.
Time began to stretch and slow down. Waking up early, walking everywhere, and paying attention, made every moment more vivid, lively, and important. My spirit was being restored and my energy and inspiration recharged.
One windy afternoon we went kayaking on the saltwater pond. On our way out, we had to paddle against the wind. We were the only ones there. Paddling against the wind required more effort but as we turned, the wind was at our back, bringing us ashore, gently.
Everything in life seems to be part of a cycle. In and out, back and forth, up and down, darkness and light. Sometimes we paddle against the wind, doing the best we can, resting here and there or struggling to stay afloat.
Eventually, we arrive at our destination, turn our backs to the wind, and it’s smooth sailing from that point on. We’re brought back to shore, safe, and filled with a sense of achievement and exhilaration, our stamina restored. We learned something more about ourselves during the journey and pretty soon we’re ready to go at it again.
It’s all based on rhythm, our breath in and out, the tides, day and night, and the seasons. A garden sprouts and blooms then withers and dies. It goes underground only to return glorious and more beautiful than ever in the spring. The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. There’s the space in between, where we can rest and recharge. I guess that’s what these four days were for me. The space in between!