Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finding my Inner Stillness, or Letting it Find Me.

I’ve been thinking about the beach lately. 

Mainly because I crave it something bad in the winter. During these ice-cold, snowy days in Nashville, I long for the quiet, peaceful afternoons underneath that warm Gulf Coast sun. 

Sand between my toes, sand in my hair, sand on literally everything I own, but I am okay with it. I even find it getting stuck between the pages of my books, in combination with splashes of salt water and the aroma of summer sweat. But I trust that it will simply add to the story and remind me of the sweetness of the beach when I long for it in later seasons.

The beach never changes, but always changes at the same time. It looks different based on the various levels of blues and greens in the ocean, those two powerhouses blending together so vibrantly that, immediately upon first glance, my breath becomes slower, my thoughts are centered. 

Every summer, the beach looks younger, like it hasn't aged a day since the last time I saw it. There I stand at water's edge, impersonating a proud mother, watching its rise and fall like the belly of a baby in his sleep. 

So fluid, so natural.
So slow and steady.

But I know deep down that this elegant, peaceful gem has been around much longer than me and will live as long as the earth requires. She is the mother.  She is the wise old being that is the heartbeat of this world. That steady, constant reminder of who we are and what we are meant to become.

The beach is so quiet sometimes. Yes, this vacation spot is a popular place in the summer season, and oftentimes, there are people everywhere, interrupting my whispered, poetic conversation with the ocean tide. It's like being in a restaurant and locked into that perfect moment of a holy exchange of words with the one you love, when a loud, obnoxious party of ten comes parading in with high heels and bachelorette sashes on. 

WAY too much pink and WAY too much hairspray. 

The night is lost in echoes of tequila shots and "one more for the bride-to-be" barging in and invading your eardrums, when suddenly, even the food tastes like a honky tonk cigarette.


On those unique opportunities where you get the beach to yourself, for just a moment, without the traffic of human toes creeping up behind you and trying to claim the best spot for their 30+ family, 

The beach is so quiet, so kind.

I long for those quiet mornings on the beach. Like a child at recess, the ocean tide tunnels in, roaring for attention and moving constantly. The beautiful ocean blue meets the backdrop of a pale blue sky.  The wind cools my face, making my hair dance in all directions. That wild-free abandon gives life to even the tips of my eyelashes as I find myself laughing at this flirtatious exchange with Mother Nature herself.

The beach is the holy land to my cold and gray winter days. She is the whisper of solitude that keeps me going when my feet feel heavy and my nose seems stuffed up for days on end.

For now, I will have to create my own quiet and holy exchange with the white snow blanket kissing the ground and rooftops outside my window. A quiet, peaceful dream for some, still a party acquaintance with a shy hello and a half-smile for me. I am still learning the sound of the snow, the smell of the cold.

Not my holy land, but my morning
And I am thankful for her greeting this day.

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