Archives for posts with tag: beach

Glendalough Castle in Ireland. Obviously not the beach, but a place of adventure, and another inspiring  location where the air vibrated with fecund expectancy.

First thing this morning, as is my wont, I donned warm clothes and sturdy shoes, and, urging my trusty hound into the back seat, jumped into my CRV and headed for the beach.  I went there expecting the same wonderful experience I always receive — unique every morning, but always a gift to the soul and senses.

But today was different.

Today, after Maz and I traversed the short path onto the sands, we emerged onto a landscape tinged with fog, the icy blue of the still water blending into the serene sky with nary a division seen.  All was calm and peace, the only sound the gentlest lapping of water on shore.  I looked up and down the expanse of beach.  We were alone, yet the air was pregnant with imminent possibility.  The very sand seemed to be waiting in hushed expectation.

I felt as if we’d stepped through the back of the wardrobe into an undiscovered country, where something awe-inspiring was about to take place.

A glorious feeling to carry into the day.










There is very little doubt in my mind that one of the greatest sources of joy in my life at the moment is Long Point Beach.  Every morning at around 7, I can be found alternately strolling or striding along its shore, accompanied by my faithful hound Maz.  I come for the scenery, Maz prefers the dead fish.  End result:  sheer happiness for both.
This morning, while driving along the causeway leading to the beach, I was startled to see a huge swarm of small black birds filling the sky above me.  From the point just above my head to one above hte marsh far in the distance, thousands of these feathered friends were beginning their exodus to warmer climes, their wings pumping madly in the chill of the morning sky.  There was no mid-air ballet today, no time for any such frivolity.  They had somewhere to go, and there were getting to it.

But the experience of all of those small bodies, those pulsating wings, dominating the heavens made me stop my car in the middle of the road and gaze upward in abject awe.

The driving force of thousands of palpitating hearts, all beating as one, created a moving mosaic of black wing against the light grey morning sky, and I was mesmerized.  But more than that.  For a few fleeting moments, I was a part of it, almost present there with them in the heavens, wings beating, core pounding, spirit lifting up and away into the promise of bluer skies, balmier breezes and tasty caterpillars only just contemplating the cocoon.

I drive that causeway almost every daybreak, and usually I give thanks for the simple beauty of the natural landscape.  But this morning … this morning was a moment of wonder in an ordinary day, and it felt like a miracle.

Tomorrow, I’ll once again rise at dawn to make the same pre-breakfast trek on those enervating sands.  Will there be another miracle?  Is there a miracle every single day, if I open myself to it?
I think there may be.  And I will be watching.

I wish I could say that this elegant creature with the gorgeous gams was me, but it is actually my friend, Cynthia, photographed by her husband, James. She and Maz certainly win the contest for lithe beauty, don’t they?

As you know, I am most prone to revelation when walking on my beautiful beach in Long Point.  I call it my beach because, now that the visitors have vacated the premises for another year, this stretch of sand is solitary in its beauty, and as I stride along its length, I laugh with the universe in gratitude for this oasis which I own without ever having had to pay a cent towards a mortgage.

Yesterday, the air was filled with the cacophonous caws of a myriad of birds — they looked like starlings — perching in the ancient trees just up from the water’s edge.  They were making a tremendous racket, and every ten seconds or so, they would suddenly swarm from one tree to another nearby, spending several moments mid-air:  fleetly flitting up and down, east and west, all in the most delightful exhibition of synchronized flying available to the human eye.

There have been times on the beach when perhaps a dozen hawks have soared above my head with what seems a perilously narrow margin of clearance, and the tantalizing mixture of wonder and fear at the proximity of these large birds of prey has been exhilarating, to say the least.

But these starlings, if that’s what they were, provided a mystery, and an inspiration.

I suppose I could have cast myself as Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock’s classic film, and seen danger, but instead, I chose to perceive the perfect unity of the birds, which must have numbered in the many hundreds.

There are times when, like lemmings, we simply follow our fellows into oblivion.  We allow the pundits of agri-business and pharma-business and those who claim that climate change is all nonsense to seduce us into a zombie-like acceptance of the ever worsening status quo without really thinking for ourselves.

But then, there are other times when our membership in a larger tribe reflects a gathering energy created by individuals linked by similar values and a common purpose, and a releasing of that energy into the world.

The flock has more power than it realizes.  Are you concerned about the dangers of GMOs  — genetically modified corn and soybeans, for example?  You have the power to subvert this system by refusing to buy the many products which contain them.  Disturbed by the growing reports of potential links between overuse of vaccinations and a variety of ailments?  Through the miracle of the internet you have the power to research this subject and make an informed choice regarding what is right for you and your family.  Unhappy with the rumblings of ‘peak oil’ and ‘peak water’ as well as the menace of climate change always there lurking behind the sunshine?  You can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

The tribe of those who are flocking together with the common goal of simple, yet abundant, living; a sustainable lifestyle; and a return to proper stewardship of this planet is growing.  We are beginning to swarm from tree to tree, uttering a raucous invitation to join us., and there is little time to waste.

You have the choice to stay on the ground, or to spread your wings.  The tribe is waiting for you, here in the air.

I was blessed today with a wonderful reminder of how small acts of kindness and truth can mean a great deal in someone’s life.

It had started out as a difficult day:  too many hours driving through extreme heat in my feisty little vehicle which lacks air conditioning.  Too much dust, and too much sweat with a hot dog in the back.

When I arrived home, faithful canine in tow, we gratefully trudged indoors and turned on the air.  Still, I felt as if we were under siege, hiding behind closed doors, windows and blinds from the incessant blaring of the sun.

So around 4 p.m., we headed for the beach.  I was wearing my ancient bathing suit:  a Speedo in a simple maillot style, but in a shade of blue I really like, and with some colourful detail around the V-neck.  I had tied a patterned piece of cloth in complementary shades around my waist as a sarong, and donned my nifty straw hat, purchased at a thrift store for a mere ninety-nine cents!, with a silk scarf adding a dash of bon vivant around the brim.

The lake was flexing its muscles, big choppy waves stirring up the sand and painting the water a dull beige.  I untied my sarong, slung it around my neck, and with my sandals in one hand, entered the water, Maz trailing behind.  It was delicious and cool, and the slapping of the waves against my fanny was a lovely reminder that the lake may be a sassy fellow, but he’s always happy to chill with you on a warm summer day.  I smiled as I watched Maz rolling with large waves that threatened to swamp him, amazed that my greyhound seems to have made the transition to water spaniel.

Leaving the water, I re-tied my sarong over my now wet suit, and we continued our barefoot trek along the shore, our feet sinking slightly into a cushion of wet sand.

When Maz stopped for a sniff, a young woman in a scanty bikini walked slightly past, then turned around and came back to us.  She was perhaps 18 or 20, with a sweet face and a gravitas that belied her tender age.  After asking about Maz, she said something that seemed to me quite remarkable.

“I’m an art student, and obviously I can’t ask you to sit for a sketch here, but I’ve been walking behind you on the beach for a ways, and I just wanted you to know that I think you and your dog are beautiful.”

Now, how’s that for a comment guaranteed to make any day brighter?

I was honestly humbled by the simple courage she exhibited in speaking so forthrightly to a stranger, and while I thanked her for her kind words, I’m quite sure I failed to adequately communicate how much those words had meant to me on a difficult day.

And it’s serendipitous, because I’ve been reading a great deal lately, in blogs and such, that the only way we’ll be successful in changing ourselves, and the opinions of our brothers and sisters, as we attempt to heal the gashes we continue to make on this beautiful planet, is by speaking from the heart.

It’s been my habit for some time, whenever Maz (and before her death, Gini) and I enjoy a soul-nurturing walk on the beach, I wait until a stone calls to me, and I take it home as a reminder of the lake’s gift.  As I left the young woman, a beautiful egg whispered my name, and once home, I honoured it with the photograph you see above.

This stone is the symbol of the young woman on the beach who had the courage to speak from the heart in a way that raised my spirits so much on this searing day.

Blessings fall on us from so many places.  The next time you have the opportunity to speak kindly to another human being from your heart, know that you may be the blessing that makes a small but important difference in that person’s life.  Just as the young woman did in mine.

Yesterday, I took a break from thesis corrections to watch Dr. Wayne Dyer in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Sunday series. (Gosh, you gotta love that, if only for the alliteration!)

After speaking of a spiritual healer he credits with curing him of leukemia, Dyer related his faith in manifestation — that our thoughts become things, and that the universe responds to our committed requests and beliefs.

In regards to the well-being most of us desire, he suggested that one should act as if those states were already present in one’s life, and further, should actually act as if they, a spiritual being in the midst of a human experience, were those qualities.  Rather than thinking, “I’m sick, I’m poor and I’m unlovable,” one should fill one’s thoughts with, “I am Health, I am Wealth and I am Love.”

The notion that the configuration of the universe responds to our thoughts and desires isn’t all that different from the Hindu concept of “Maya”, the illusion of the physical world.  And the idea that we can create scenarios by believing we are already in possession of them resonates with me of the great psychologist, Fritz Perls and his Gestalt therapy:  his watch-cry was, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.”  Perls would poke and prod his patients into assuming the form of happiness — “If you were happy, how would you sit right now, stand right now, talk, act?  So, do it!” — and the emotional state would tend to follow the physical one.

This morning, I was walking on the beach with Maz.  It was a little later than usual — 8 o’clock — and the sun was beaming down on us as we both meandered barefoot on the sand, and paddled in the water.  The lake was calm, a serene glass blanket, twinkling coquettishly at the sun’s caress.  A man and his grandchildren were frolicking in the water, and farther from shore, a lone swimmer rose and dipped in a measured front crawl.

It struck me that, despite whatever else is going on in the world or in my life, I needed to put very little effort into obeying Dyer’s suggestion, if only I could open myself to the experience of that moment.  As I strode along the warm sand, my canine companion at my side, I felt completely at peace, and in harmony with nature and my fellow travelers on this planet.

I am Health.  I am Wealth.  I am Love.

The challenge, I believe, is to bring this openness to every moment of one’s life — not just those spent on the beach.  The joy is there, if we can see it and feel it and believe it.