Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rock and Water, Air and Sun

It hit me all of a sudden, instantly in the moment I stopped watching my feet, stopped thinking about the photos I wanted to take, worrying about Mother tripping and falling. When I stopped moving, stopped thinking, when I stood still and looked up, when I looked out, it happened.
The rocks. The water. The sky.
It all hit me.
Like a wave. Not knocking me over but washing over me and into me, filling me up.
Instinctively, I breathed in deeply. The air, the air, the air. There is nothing like sea air. There is nothing like the air at the edge of the sea, at the edge of a continent.
There is nothing like breathing in the vastness of that nothingness, a nothingness that is full of everything that makes us human, that makes this world what it is, that makes you forget you are ruining everything about the earth and the water and the air.
It makes you remember who is in charge. Because our bodies need earth and air and water to live.

Peggy's Cove was the first stop this past weekend on our annual road trip for Mother's birthday (which included a book reading on Saturday night at LaHave River Books). Since I haven't visited Peggy's Cove and the south shore of Nova Scotia since I was 14 years old, essentially this was like seeing the place for the first time.
It felt like feeling the sea for the first time.
One of my goals for this visit was to get a photo of my book with the lighthouse in the background so that took up the first half hour of our visit. Which is why, when I finally focused on where I was, the impact of this simple place hit me so powerfully.
My first thought was: My cells are rearranging. They are reorienting themselves to the water. What a strange and wonderful feeling.
My next feeling came as an understanding of why those who live at the ocean, those whose lives revolve around the ocean, feel. How their bodies and their spirits become one with the sea. As if they are more in tune with the tides and the waves, the wind, the sun, than they are with other humans.
As if they are themselves creatures of the sea.

All that from standing on those rocks at Peggy's Cove, with the lighthouse behind me and the water as calm as anyone could ever want. If I felt that on a calm day, what would have happened on a wet and windy day? Those who know the sea, who live the sea, who die in the sea, seek that out, I'm sure, seek out the power and the energy. I doubt they could help themselves. There is a magnetism. There is a siren call. I felt it, and I'm a lake girl from Ontario, married to a man who has a river running through his veins, as landlubbery as they come.

Which reminds me of something I wrote about in my book: standing in the field looking up at the night sky, seeing the universe expand as I stared, seeing more and more stars appear.
That's how it feels to look out at the endless sea. You think there is nothing to see, you think there is no life there, you think there is no message for you, yet the longer you stand and look, the more absorbed into the universe you become.
And you understand exactly what you are a part of.

 Peggy's Cove has become a cliche about tourism, about tourists, about the careless who refuse to think the warnings about the danger of waves and wet rocks apply to them. Those who don't feel and respect the power give themselves over to the sea in a different way.
For me, it's now a conduit to a new world. Once your cells rearrange like that, you can't return to the way you were.
We were there on the finest day possible -- cloudless sky, sunshine, a light breeze -- but it wasn't busy, so I had the privilege of standing on those rocks and forgetting there was any one else around. I had the privilege of experiencing, for a brief moment, the energy of land and the sea commingling under the feet and rising up through the legs as the energy of the sun and the sky flows in from the head.
Breath and heartbeat -- wave upon wave upon wave.

I shaded my eyes to look out over the water. There was nothing there that didn't belong entirely unto itself.

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