14 Aug 2022
There’s nothing like a good quote to put into words, something you were feeling already but hadn’t quite articulated. Or, to shed a little more light on a subject. To get you to see something in a fresh way.
And what better subject than one of the finest places on Earth... the beach and the sea.
Water Meets Sand
It’s no surprise that one of the best things about the Isle of Palms is how it intersects with the Atlantic Ocean, and all the sand where that happens.
The beach naturally draws people. It’s like an inexorable pull toward something familiar, peaceful, and soul-restoring.
There’s the water aspect of the ocean itself. The older I get, the more I know that there is definitely healing in the water. It is both physically and psychologically therapeutic, whether you’re dipping your toes in it, having it sprinkled on your head, or diving in and getting immersed from head to toe.
It’s downright refreshing. We human beings are made up of about 70% of water, so maybe that’s part of the reason why we feel so at home when wet.
Interestingly, the same percentage - about 70% - of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans. President John F. Kennedy, a hero in the Navy and lifelong sailor, had this to say:
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.”
A quote to vacation by…
One of my favorite quotes about the beach explains perfectly why you should come to the Isle of Palms and rent a place here.
“The beach occupies the senses,
but doesn’t require any effort.
You can do nothing
It’s also the perfect place to find tranquility and peace. As Rainer Maria Rilke, the amazing Austrian poet and novelist, wrote:
“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”
Danish author Karen “Isak” Dinesen, who is best known for her book “Out of Africa,” said this: “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”
In the immortal words of lowercase letter lover, the poet e.e. cummings:
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
As Lebanese-American author/artist Kahlil Gibran wrote: “In one drop of water are found the secrets of all the endless oceans.”
So much to experience with your senses…
The fact that Helen Keller - a blind and deaf person - wrote this about going to the beach, is astoundingly beautiful:
“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought, and the shells and pebbles and the seaweed with tiny living creatures attached to it never lost their fascination for me.”
Poet Walt Whitman put it this way: “To me, the sea is a continual miracle; the fishes that swim, the rocks, the motion of the waves, the ships with men in them. What stranger miracles are there?”
Ian Fleming, the British writer and creator of James Bond, remarked: “The sea, that great library of books one cannot read.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged us to dive right in. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
The Sea: A Spiritual Place
The human spirit finds healing here. As English poet and priest George Herbert wrote, “He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea.”
A Celtic Benediction, penned by J. Philip Newell:
"In the silence of the early morning
your Spirit hovers over the brink of the day
and new light pierces the darkness of the night.
In the silence of the morning
life begins to stir around me,
and I listen for the day’s first utterances.
In earth, sea and sky
and in the landscape of my own soul
I listen for utterances of your love, O God.
I listen for utterances of your love."
These last couple years have brought much loss to many, myself included. I’ve found solace and comfort in this last quote, by American author Henry Van Dyke...
“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, ‘There, she is gone!’
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: ‘Here she comes!’
And that is dying.”
May you find peace, healing, rest, love and blessings here, where the land meets the sea.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger