Friday, March 8, 2013
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
The quote above, taken from The Hobbit, has proven to be my truth here at the beach. We came here to rest our souls after the ladder experience. This process, this healing time, has had the odd effect of erasing my creative. It completely disappeared, instead becoming a blank white page. White noise. A vast nothingness. These days shooting photographs doesn't come easy but I do it anyway. It may only be a sunrise, a wave, a pelican but I do it in order to remember the process, to keep my skills as fresh as possible. Quite simply, oddly, photography is not the passion that it was Before Ladder. At least for now.
Today, March 8, marks the one year anniversary of our arrival at Kure Beach, North Carolina.
Our first few months here were idyllic. Spring 2012 was pleasant with abundant sunshine. Lugging chairs to the beach we would simply sit and stare out over the ocean, watch the birds, watch the fishermen and locals who walked along the sparcely attended shoreline. Once, we witnessed the process of evaporation - moisture rising off the ocean, cooling the air - and felt its immediate effect. Sometimes we would talk but more often our companionable silence stretched long and deep. Sinew by sinew my back, shoulders and neck relaxed, gradually, bringing daily noticeable differences. Sleep was deep and sound. Solitary meditative beach walks matched the rhythm of the tides - slow, deliberate, silent. Collecting beach treasures became my new passion.
And why? Why collect bits of nature? Why do I relish the feel of a barnicle-crusted old shell in my hand? Why must I collect fossilized teeth, bone and barbs? Why do I feel the need to display them, touch them over and over, inhale their briny scent?
I think it's because I'm collecting pieces of myself.
Treasures that interest me are not the usual shells but those that are worn. Pieces, even. I was worn upon arriving here, and in pieces.
Initially, I became passionate about pieces of clam shells. I didn't know at first what they were, but stripes of deep purple, lavender and mauve undulating through smooth creamy pieces caught my eye. I found one. Then another, and another, and another. Before long I had quite the collection, and they are now proudly displayed in clear glass vases and bowls.
Clam shells are common along the shoreline but they aren't particularly pretty. Clunky, brown things like a horse's hoof can be readily found any given day. However, these clunky brown shells contain a miracle within. As the surf and currents pound them up over time they break up, the brown parts break off and the inner bits of shell are polished by the ocean and sand into these creamy purply bits of loveliness.
I like to think that's happening to me, to my soul. The brown, clunky, tired, weary soul I dragged to this place is gradually breaking up, being polished, exposing a soft loveliness inside.
Having always been active and creative, goals were penned before coming here. More photography, volunteer with the turtle project, write a book, join a land trust, journal and meditate, learn yoga and Reiki.
However, what I did instead was simply stop. Stop. I stopped and I breathed. At first, my lungs always felt like I'd been swimming when all I did was walk the beach. The fresh salt air scrubbed my lungs. Walking serpentine sands strengthened my back, my legs and I turned tan and my hair lighter. My long-neglected body finally felt firmer, felt better, felt healthier, felt rested.
So it has been a year and I think I'm finished resting. I'm beginning to feel the pull of my creative and wonder what direction it will take me. It's time to begin filling in that blank white page.