I’m not quite sure when my love affair with the beach and the sea began. What I can tell you is that going to the beach and seeing the sea has become synonymous in my life with meditation. It is calming. Centring. Perhaps because the sea connects us all, it helps me feel tuned into the broader picture, connected with far away places, with my fellow man, with the planet.
The pull is so magnetic, so powerful, so magical, that I get a sense of excitement when I merely glimpse the sea, whether behind hills, through trees or gaps between houses, as I’m driving along the coast. Just one look and my heart skips a beat, my breath catches and I swoon.
It isn’t the sea on its own that attracts me. Several years ago I went on a cruise with some friends and I found it rather frightening being out in the middle of deep blue rolling waters that seemed more like a giant bowl of choppy dark blue jelly than the sea I’m familiar with. I felt as if the water was ready to swallow us up at any moment.
No, it’s seeing the sea from the comfort of land that does it for me. And it’s where the land meets the sea that I am most enthralled.
I have friends who I know feel the same, and recently when I was in Greece I discovered that one of my cousins felt exactly the same way too. “Look,” she said, as the sea came into view when we were driving to the coast, “Doesn’t it make your heart sing?”
A few years ago I read a beautiful piece by Jason Newman called “I Like The Waves” that immediately resonated with me. First published in The Big Issue, it beautifully and eloquently sums up how I feel about the sea. Jason has kindly given his permission for it to be reprinted here:
I Like The Waves
Standing on the beach staring intently at the horizon. I like the way the ocean moves, pulsates, alive. Always moving and changing and yet seemingly still. I like the view of the water, makes me think of eternity.
Can there be nothingness? Where is the edge of everything?
I like how the waves keep moving.
It makes me feel free and at peace. Yet at the same time inspires within me an awesome feeling of how did we get here?
I like the way the ocean and the waves are like the moods of my life. Sometimes clear, calm and peaceful. Other times stormy, agitated and filled with fear.
I like how the waves, the ocean, the sound and smell can make me feel peaceful once again. Away from the chaos and drama of day to day life.
I like how the ocean and the sky meet and blend into one. I like the shoreline where the tides rise and fall. A forever changing zone or no man’s land, torn between two worlds.
by Jason Newman
I have a memory of being at the beach with my family and friends when I was around five years old and being extremely happy. I’m pretty sure it’s a memory manufactured from photos of the day in question, but that doesn’t make it any less reliable or strong. In the photos I’m frolicking in the waves, lying in the shallows with the waves tickling my toes; giggling, smiling, laughing.
Perhaps that day was when it all started. When I was charmed by the beach and fell in love with the sea.