Monday, October 8, 2012

The Art of the Sea

All the talk of summer is over. We are on to other things. But I will remember a season that ended with a perfect arc. Like the crescent moon, barely visible on September 21st, summer passed away mid-sentence, ending only with a luminous comma in the sky.  

On this last day of summer my husband and his sister headed for the waves. We don't live near the ocean, and it's always a special event. As much to be savored and appreciated as family when we visit both together.
I don't bathe in the ocean. It has a different appeal for me. I hung back and felt the rhythm and pulse as I walked alongside instead. The beach was empty, and I began to feel that the sea had a message for me.
I was thinking of another message from the night before. We had Chinese for dinner, and my fortune cookie announced to me that "you will be content by the end of summer." I smiled and thought that it was quite likely, since I was not discontented, and the season was all but over.

I strolled along, alone with my thoughts in a way that I had probably not been all year long. Alone in nature is different than solitude anywhere else.
 I thought of the morning with my aged mother in law, and of her walker. She and many of her companions push them along where she lives. They have handy baskets like a bicycle. Or a baby stroller. And it seemed like a natural phase of life that way. The strollers were lined up outside rides at Disneyland earlier in summer, and now walkers were lined up outside the dining hall of a retirement community just the same. It got me all awhirl with thoughts of wheels and cycles and seasons past and present and yet to come all ocurring together. 
Perhaps my thoughts were enhanced a little by the vision we had seen, my husband, his mother, and I, as we toddled along at a ninety-year-old pace on the way to lunch. We were crossing a quiet street in the small community. There was a vague sound of a plane flying overhead that we hardly paid any attention to as we were watching our steps. And then suddenly my husband exclaimed, "Oh my gosh it's the space shuttle!"
We stopped in our tracks right in the middle of the street, all making exclamations at the piggy-backed miracle accompanied by two other planes sailing so slowly above the tree tops. We had a good field of vision, and a long euphoric moment passed as we tried to take it all in together. We had timed our walk serendipitously to coincide with Endeavor taking its final soaring 
journey along the southern coast of California to its final resting place, the end of its own season.

So now, at the end of day, the eleventh hour of summer, I looked to the sea, searching for its gifts as you do when you are there, and wondered what it would tell me.

The waves and grass and seaweed made forms on the sand like tea leaves in a cup.

 I half expected to find a word or two spelled out.
No sooner would I be engrossed in reading the shore and a wave would wash its message away out to sea. 

But eventually the art of the sea gave up its whispered missive. Wave after wave. Piece by piece, and unprofound. 

In the arcs and swirls, and foreign seeming vegetation. . .


It was only a message of peace. And of beauty. . . .

And of content. . . .



I hope your week is just as sweet! 



  1. Dear Jacqueline,

    I read you almost every day...and not just because you have beautiful things and wonderful photos, but every bit as captivating is your have such a gift for words...words that paint lovely pictures in such a calm and inspiring way...words that are full of wisdom and a sweet spirit. This post is beautiful in every way and it really speaks to me as I can see that your family is right here in my neighborhood...the beach at HR and I would venture to guess that Jane might be at VV...hope to meet you one day on the beach...



  2. What a beautiful post! The photos are so gorgeous and what you found on the sand was so beautiful. Simple pieces of seaweed and sealife tossed on the sand. Beautiful thoughts on life and aging. Thank you! Blessings, Pamela

  3. beautiful pictures! I am a beach lover (not only during the summer months)

  4. I haven't visited you in a few much goings on...babies...sons and
    But...after reading this...and walking along the beach...somehow I see things more clearly...You give me strength in your writings...
    Thank You Jacqueline...
    My life has been upside down lately, but you have made me land squarely on my 2 feet..and it is time for me to take control...

    Linda :o)

  5. A lovely post Jacqueline,
    As always you keep my eyes fixed on every line you write.
    How incredible that you should be walking and hear the sound of the space shuttle on her last voyage.. and with your mother in law, who can remember when there were just small planes in the sky.
    The beach photos of the different seaweed..seems as though it was sending a message.. A sweet message of hope.
    Thank you
    happy week

  6. What a lovely post.. I can almost hear the lapping of the waves and the noise of the seagulls. Have a wonderful week!


  7. Jacqueline,
    I feel contentment just reading about your time at the beach! That is what the beach also does for me. It calms and soothes and helps me breathe easier in a way...relaxed and at peace.
    I enjoy your blog! Thanks for sharing all you do!

  8. Seems like lots of circles and cycles of life are everywhere around you. In the elders with their walkers, to to the space shuttle taking it's final journey piggyback... (that was pretty awesome and touching), i don't know... but i loved the way you were listening and watching...


  9. As usual, your photographs are amazing. Beautiful post. Dianne

  10. For a New Mexico girl, you sure captured the beauty of our California beaches. I was at work the day the Endeavor flew over, but my husband was out on the beach and said it was a wonderful moment. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words and pictures.

  11. This post is so lovely, beautifully photographed, and even more beautifully written. I can see your spirit in your words, and that is a lovely thing. How I love, and miss, the sea!! Thank you for taking me back again, just for a brief moment in time.

  12. A beautiful post, Jacqueline, filled with such serenity. And those mystical images are such a perfect counterpoint to your lovely words.

  13. I am a new follower of your blog and have to say how I felt quite touched by your post today. I lost my mother a couple of months ago to breast cancer that was undiagnosed (she didn't have a check). I actually live a short walk from the sea but it is a very busy little coastal village buzzing with tourists and cafes and restaraunts. However we have desolate amazing coastal areas not far away and after reading your post, seeing your photos it actually brought tears to my eyes but made me realise that the seaside can also be a healing place and I have decided to go out to the rugged coast this weekend, just me and my dog alone and try to heal a little more. Maybe I will even try to take some photos but sadly I don't have my long awaited DSLR camera yet. But I will still try.

    Thank you again for your wonderful post and eloquent words.


  14. Hi J ~ that was absolutely beautiful. I love the lens you see life through, paired with your wonderful prose. It transports.

  15. Jacqueline,
    Your post took me back 38 years!!! My son was celebrating his second birthday on the shores of Padre Island! Thanks for such lovely photography and for reminding me of a "special time" with our son!


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