I love nature. I love every aspect of nature, whether it is a running stream, a field of wildflowers, a family of bunnies living in my yard, planting flowers, or watching the first snowfall. There are dozens of other examples, but suffice it to say that I feel one with nature, connected to it in a very intimate, personal way. It could be my Native American roots that strengthen that bond. I have Native heritage on both sides of my family, and my identification with that specific part of my ethnicity could help to explain the closeness. I not only admire nature and all it involves, but I have great respect for it as well, and try to treat it as gently and lovingly as possible.
Today, I am actively contemplating what aspect of nature most speaks to me, one that is like a nagging voice in my head more often than any other. I feel a strong connection to bodies of water, and that which I feel most connected to emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, is the ocean.
I have made vacations and day trips to the ocean since I was a small child growing up. I remember many family vacations, camping trips, and day trips, to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, and to Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I remember standing in the sand as the waves broke over my feet on the beach, and how it appeared that I was moving, when I wasn’t. I remember romping in the waves, riding them, getting knocked over, tasting salt in my mouth, my eyes and throat burning.
As an adult, I have made a pilgrimage to an ocean destination almost every year. Whether it be the North Carolina coast, where my parents rented a house for a week for ten years, or trips on vacation to Provincetown, Dennisport, or other Cape Cod destinations, or even areas in Delaware such as Rehoboth or Dewey beaches. I even visited the ocean last month in Florida, and got to romp in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ocean speaks to me when it roars, waves high and crashing loudly, knocking me over, surfing me to the shore, and reminding me of how mighty it is. The ocean speaks to me when it is calm, softly touching the sand, reflective and soothing. The ocean speaks to me with the sun and moon reflected in it, showing all that exists above it.
I remember when I was in my thirties, and my older brother died. I knew I needed to grieve, although his death had been imminent. I knew that my grief had to be observed in my own way, separate from my family, because of the level of denial that they had about his disease. I knew I had to go somewhere that would allow me to feel comfort, and also to feel the presence of his spirit. Without hesitation, I knew that I had to go to the ocean, somewhere, to connect. I travelled to the Jersey shore, I am not even sure where exactly. It was March, so it was cold and desolate there. The town was locked up tight. I walked out on the sand, stared at the wide vastness of it all, and spoke to the ocean, and listened to it speak back to me and give me comfort. I was there for only a few moments, but it brought part of my healing process that I so desperately needed.
Do you hear nature speaking to you? Is it whispering or shouting? Will you answer?