Having just returned from a retreat to the ocean pictured above, I can say that for me, oceans bring peace. I spent eight days on that beach playing in the surf, walking the sands, and napping in my beach chair to the sounds of the surf. Each morning, I carried my coffee and my camp stool down to the water’s edge–this year, the tide was always out in the morning, so it was a relatively long walk–and I would practice a couple of rounds of tai chi and then wade in the water. When I was tired, I sat on my camp chair and waited for the tide to come to me, all the while watching the waves roll and break. They are endless, continuous, and each is different, like snowflakes. The sound moves from the roar of the big waves breaking far out to the splashing of the water as it moves over the sand–a symphony that changes constantly yet has a distinct pattern.
The first morning, as I sat and sipped my coffee, I felt some tension leave me, and I wrote to my sister that I had finally found some peace in, some acceptance of, all that has happened since Bob became ill and then died. I have always gone to the ocean when I have been troubled. Every year for over twenty, I have retreated to this place, even the same campsite, for eight to ten days in July. Every year until this one, Bob was waiting for me when I came home. He always said I came back happy, my old self, free of all the stresses and strains of the previous year. He said too that he would never let me not go for fear that I would fail to remember my real self if I did not see the ocean at least once each year. Last year though, Bob did not let me go. He was, I think, afraid that I would not come back; a fear that was a symptom of his illness but very real to him. He would not be convinced that I always come back because I always love him and my own fear was of having to live without him. So I stayed home with him and tried to comfort him, but lost a little of my self.
So this trip to my ocean was healing. Not enough, not all, but a start. The sunrise shown in the photo is my beach at its best, except for sunsets, and the in-between times. It changes every day and is completely different every year; one year it will be scoured clean, another will find it covered with driftwood, and yet another there will be rocks. I love it. It is, indeed, our blue future.