I’ve been reading a lot of Rachel Carson lately, for a project that I’m working on. Her writing is beautiful to me, as someone who comes more alive when I am on the ocean, feeling the wind in my hair. I get the sense that Rachel is also of a like mind when it comes to the spiritual power of being close to the ocean and its “surge of beating life.” An excerpt from The Rocky Coast:
Like the sea itself, the shore fascinates us when we return to it, the place of our dim ancestral beginnings. In the recurrent rhythms of tides and surf and in the varied life of tide lines there is the obvious attraction of movement and change and beauty. There is also, I am convinced, a deeper fascination born of inner meaning and significance.
When we go down to the low tide line, we enter a world that is as old as the earth itself–the primeval meeting place of the elements of earth and water, a place of compromise and conflict and eternal change. For us as living creatures it has special meaning as an area in or near which some entity that could be distinguished as Life first drifted in shallow waters–reproducing, evolving, yielding that endlessly varied stream of living things that has surged through time and space to occupy the earth.
To understand the shore, it is not enough to catalog its life. Understanding comes only when, standing on a beach, we can sense the long rhythms of earth and sea that sculptured its land forms and produced the rock and sand of which it is composed; when we can sense with the eye and ear of the mind the surge of life beating always at its shores…