4.16.2007

The Sea and Me


I was down at Castle Beach watching the sunset and roasting things on wires. (Take my advice and avoid toasting PEEPS in lieu of marshmallows...It was just wrong.) Happy Birthday, Mr. Eleven.
kama'aina: (Hawaiian, 'lover of the land')
I wandered over to the water to say hello. I saw a sea lion frolicking in the surf, and then fell to slightly melancholy musings about how different I am from the sea lion, how slightly afraid I've always been of the ocean. It could very easily kill me. Images of tsunami-style waves, impossibly huge, have always figured into my nightmares, even from very young. I don't belong in it, I belong on the land, you know, the place with all the oxygen. I've always lived by water, at least, I've blocked out the brief intervals when I've lived inland. I love to sit by it, drive by it, examine the marine life at it's edge. I've even lived on land masses completely surrounded by it, a few different times. (We call these islands.) But I've never really relished swimming in it, or even sailing for long amounts of time on it. I'm just a land-lubber. I admire our friends who live on their boat and plan to sail around the globe soon. They have made friends with the sea in a way in which I feel unable.
So there I was with the sea lion, feeling miles away from it, even though it was only a few yards. We were on opposite sides of this line which was the tide mark. I tried to reason with myself that the sea lion enjoyed the sea because it is in his nature, and that his life sounded lonely and un-cosy to me because his nature and mine were different. I stood there and tried hard to make peace with the sea. In the end, I thanked God for it, because of it's power and wildness, it reminded me that He is the One who makes the waves toss and roar. ("He's not a tame lion, but he's good."-The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis)
the ocean says hello
I turned around and absent-mindedly began to walk back towards the bonfire. I walked about a dozen yards and then something caught my eye. It looked like a little white dog was chasing my heels. I turned and...there was the water. It had come pretty far inland, much farther than any of the sets I had seen, and it was only right where I was. It looked like a long tongue, or a finger, from the ocean that had come up behind me. It was very gentle, and the foam was shining & almost winking at me in the sun's last light. I just stood there for a moment, and said inside, "God? Does this mean anything?" I immediately recalled the Psalmist's words: "The seas have lifted, they have lifted up their voice, O Lord."
Seamill, Scotland
photo credit: Avril Rennie

2 comments:

b said...

that reminds me of the time I was walking around San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Mountain View thinking about the end of all things...as you do. I was thinking about being part of God's creation praising Him as part of some chorus of unknown harmony and beauty. I thought of how amazing it would be to be lifting my voice next to a deer. Suddenly and without warning, a big stag bounded out of the trees next to me. We were less that 3 yards away from each other. We both stopped for a long second, alarmed at the proximity. Then he turned and bounded up the trail. Not really knowing what else to do, I shouted in total joy and ran after him. Of course I never saw him again, but I did startle a few does coming around a bend. How did the stag not hear my lumbering, panting crunch along the path? All Nature sings and 'round me rings the music of the spheres!

Camille said...

Its funny, I don't think about the sea much, but its always in my stories.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.