I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel like my skin is too tight, my mind is too full and all I can think of is how much I’d like to be at the ocean. You know how there’s a special place or restaurant or town or mountain or lake or <fill in the blank here> that just soothes you and makes you feel as if you really can go on when you think you can’t? The ocean is what does it for me.
Here in the Northeast, we don’t have those long, lovely white sand beaches with heartbreakingly turquoise waters you find on the west coast or tropical isles. Our ocean up here is rough and angry, steely blue-gray with flecks of yellowish foam. The waves are short and choppy, the water is eyeball-freezing cold, and the beaches are filled with shards of shells, gray-green seaweed, and pointy little pebbles that love to dig into your feet. Even the seagulls have bad attitudes; they are as aggressive as bullies in a schoolyard. It’s never a good idea to have a picnic on the beach, either–Heaven help you if you dare to eat a sandwich in front of them (go head, try it–I dare you). That said, the pound and roar of the waves are hypnotic, and the smell of the salt sea is what loosens the knot in my stomach–every time.
I have walked the beautiful beaches of Florida and California and have admired their singular beauty. Compared to our roughshod oceans here, they are peaceful and placid. They politely offer up pretty treasures like a duchess presenting a teacake on a bone china saucer; a whole unbroken sand dollar, an orange-bellied whelk, a pristine white angel wing or a barnacle-encrusted fragment of startlingly cobalt blue glass. The very pebbles are smoothed and shiny, and never so much as dent the bottoms of your feet. Long translucent blue waves roll lazily in, giving you plenty of time to move if you don’t want your feet wet. The sun is always perfect, and the waves lull you along with their quiet and steady susurrous.
No question, these beaches have it all over the Atlantic ocean for beauty and grace. But, having been born in ME and raised in NH, my heart belongs to the rough and tumble chant of my ocean. The salty sting of its harsh breath on my face is astringent and vitalizing. It’s the slap I need to make me remember who I am and why I’m here. It scrubs away the cobwebs and refreshes my spirit in a way that nothing else can; reminding me to take a deep breath and go on.
If you don’t already have a “go-to” place to rest and rejuvenate, find one. This may be one of the most important things you do for yourself and your peace of mind. Your go-to place can also be in your head if you like; it’s up to you. You will know you have come to the right place when that knot loosens. And when it does, just enjoy it and let it do its own brand of magic on you. You are worth it.