I was standing at the edge of the ocean, just the other night. But it might as well be tonight, that is how vivid of a memory it is that it is still with me .. has become a part of who I am. There are several experiences within the natural world that have lingered within the memory of this hopeless romantic and these include memories at the Grand Canyon, a black sand beach on the coast of northern California, fireworks at the shore of St. Augustine on New Year’s Eve, driving the edge of the mountain over into Tahoe, stopping in Nevada in the middle of the night to see the darkest yet most illuminated sky ever .. that is a start. In reality, my experiences within the natural world qualify as having surplus.
But maybe not in the last two years, which makes the experience of last Sunday night even more vivid. With all the experiences of my 43 years, I have not had an experience such as this one. I was standing along the shoreline of the water of Galveston Island. The shore was dark, only somewhat illuminated by the string of lights from local businesses along the highway behind me. The wind was blowing, the water was a color of midnight. The waves, all fifteen layers of them were white, bright white contrasting beautifully with the dark water. I stood there, my hair blowing in the wind .. in time, my arms outstretched from each side of me. I let the wind blow through my fingers.
It was lovely, I am still moved by it. It was sensual. I breathed in the abundance of salt air. My eyes absorbed the incredible physical beauty of the landscape including the billowy clouds perfectly formed above the water. From the left to the right, the landscape of the ocean is clear. It is wide. It is Wide Ocean. I like to be able to see a long way, it is comforting to me. Everyone needs comfort now and again and this is where my preference is to seek mine. I am never the same after leaving the ocean. I am better every time.
I stood at the water, breathing, living. I stood there in myself. And became part of the world around me. I stared and I stared at the abundance of beauty. As my eyes looked deeply into my field of vision, I recalled the other times in my life when I experienced the urgency to not leave this place. I wish I could live at the edge of the ocean. I could sleep in the rain.
I remembered times before when it was nearly impossible to leave. This fell into one of those times. I paused. I walked in. I walked into the water. I went from hands outstretched, hair blowing in the wind, breathing in the salt air of the natural world to emerging myself in its waters. I walked in slowly, comfortably. It was warm. I never hesitated. I walked fifteen feet out until the water was over my knees. the water was beginning to seep into the edges of my dress. I was alive. I was touched. The senses were full. The sounds of the water rushing, pulsing, pushing against my skin. It was so sensual, I was saturated in the best of ways.
My sensual experience, not sexual, but nonetheless like being made love to by the natural world. The water drifted softly across my skin, the same wind blowing the waves touched my hair, the sounds of it all whispering good things to me. I breathed it all in and the physical experience was both inside and outside of me.
There is life in the natural world. It comes to the natural world more effortlessly than it comes to us, but the natural world is there for us to rebuild where we need help. Sand, trees, water, saltwater .. your nature of choice .. I encourage you to seek out your nature of choice today and go experience it. I believe this world was made with great beauty for more than just beauty’s sake. The natural world is beautiful on the outside and the inside. Try seeing the natural world for its beauty not just on the outside. Reach its inside. I found that on Sunday night.