Are You Drawn to the Water?
Years ago I fell in love with a poem by Rod McKuen called “The First”. In it, he tells of a vacation by the sea where he enjoyed a walk on the beach each morning. One day he became aware that someone had reached the beach before him so he went earlier the next day. Yet no matter how early he went to the beach he still spied the footprints in the sand indicating the other fellow had already been there. The poem ends like this:
“I have but one more morning
left to me
before I trade Trés Vidas for the city,
but if I have to start out
down the beach at midnight
I’m determined to confront
that brown beach man
who dares to think
he loves my ocean
more than me.”
My ocean. I get that.
For the first time in 23 years, this summer we’re not going to our family’s summer place in Cape Breton. There are a number of reasons we can’t get away, so many in fact that I know it’s just not meant to be. This doesn’t stop the thought of not going from tugging at my heart. I’ll miss the aunts and uncles and cousins I won’t see, the gallons of tea I won’t drink by the campfire, the peace and quiet of our porch.
The worst part is; I won’t get to the water, that water. This summer I won’t find myself making my way down to the shore of my beautiful lake.
There is something profound and moving about standing on the shore of a majestic body of water. As a child, I noticed that when my cousins arrived at our family’s summer place, while their parents were busy greeting everyone already there, they made their escape and ran down to the shore. They would dip their hands into the lake or go up on the wharf and walk to the end, pausing there to gaze at the wide expanse of blue water.
I never experience a closeness to All-That-Is anywhere else the way I do there. When I meditate, this is where I go in my thoughts. I remember every stone on the path that takes me down to my beloved shore.
Are you drawn to the water? Where is your summer place and why do you love it there? Do you go to the sea in the summertime?
photo credit: Lori; this is my lake