On the Shore
September 18, 2016
This morning I woke to the ocean’s swish and thud, a sound that has echoed in my bones since birth. I knew I was home, and lay back a few more minutes to appreciate it. I was born on the shore, grew up near the ocean, and though I mainly live farther away now in miles, coming back is simply a matter of stepping out of one world and into the other.
|just before rain|
In the narrow bed under the front window, I sleep soundly, as I always did here, with the ocean’s voice humming just below the surface of sleep. I can wake at any time and hear its pulse even if the window is closed, no matter the weather.
At the moment, midday, in the quiet after lunch, everyone napping the hottest hours away, it’s the only sound I hear, and it sets me to thinking about other shore afternoons, prefaced by the longer, more complex lunches with more (much more) company at this same table, and more courses, and more ceremony.
These days lunch is a sandwich or salad (chicken for some, salmon for others), juice, cookies or pastry for dessert. It’s only an echo of those days when my grandmother had soup with fresh noodles on the table, and platters of cold cuts and tomato salad, and good bread, and a pitcher of peaches in wine. The ambiance is still there among us at table, as is the view from the window—the pale blue hazy sky, the deeper blue/green or gray of the water, the boats fishing near the horizon, a sailboat skimming by. And there is longevity, too in residence. The nonagenarians at the table outnumbered us; we were celebrating one aunt's 94th birthday; another aunt and uncle celebrating with us are even older. Next door, neighbors cheer their father’s 95th..
It seems to me that the real point of being on the shore is not the foamy step from terra firma into the infinity the ocean seems, but the far point beyond our sight that, ever shifting, keeps us from believing only in the restrictive push and pull of ordinary days in the city or country. At that very point, the vanishing point artists call it, the sun rises and twelve hours later the moon rises.
|photo by Barbara Jaeger|
And there is evening and there is morning, each day.
Soon enough one realizes that the shore isn’t the foamy edge at our feet; it’s the straight blue line between somewhere out to sea and the edge of the sky. It’s an illusion, of course; there’s no demarcation at all. Perhaps we have to learn to eschew illusory separations before we see what horizons really are.
What we know is that imagination lies there, and possibility, the potential we thrive on.
Yesterday my sister and cousin and I found a shell someone had left in the sand, most likely deliberately, with a message they meant to pass along.
We took note, and duly left it to the next passerby walking the shore. We had no trouble heeding it.
Peaches in Wine
2 ripe peaches, sliced or diced, not too small, and 1 bottle dry red wine.
Just before dinner, pour wines into clear glass or ceramic pitcher. Add peaches with juice. After dinner, serve with or as dessert in wine glasses.