Saturday, February 09, 2013

The proper order of things



The basic formulation of this view— bit of earth where I'm located extending out to water, then land over there,  preferably followed by mountains, then the sky— is the view of the world I've been accustom to for a very long time. 
I was born on an island in the Puget Sound and lived within view of an ocean for almost all of my life (with the exception of 6 months in Florida at age 18 when I got very sick and had to come home; I blame the lack of ocean). Typically the view has been the Pacific but for 2 years in Maryland it was the Atlantic (Chesapeake Bay) and for a while in Italy and Greece it was a view of the Med. 
Whenever moving has been discussed, I have to admit, the idea of not living near the water is... vaguely repellent to me.


I do know people actually live in places where you can't judge the wind speed by the white caps and swells, but I can't imagine it.
If you don't end up with beach sand in your gutters do you still have to clean them every year?
Is there something like the tides you attend to? Do the rhythms of the moon and tides matter to you at all? Do you know or care about minus tides? 
Is there something like wave sound? Something always present, varying in intensity, a voice of nature that sometimes harmonizes with the wind or rain, sometimes drowns it out, something constant and beautiful, and completely individual as well. The sound of waves on a rocky shore is very distinct from the sound of waves on sand. The lapping of water moving at nature's pace changes with the passing of boats. 

I look out across the water and I know the waves gently washing this beach are connected to the waves of the Southern Ocean, the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Indian Ocean. The tsunamis that rocked India and Japan are connected over time and space to the waters that ebb and flow here. There is immense latent power attached to the soothing little waves that gurgle along the rocky beach below my house. 

Signs like this are all over the coast and along the beaches and islands at the mouth of the Puget Sound. These are the little reminders that we live within easy reach of killer waves. Are there things like this inland? Reminders that the most life-giving, life-sustaining elements of nature may be only moments from wreaking destruction and death might seem ominous but I think they are also good grounds for a healthy focus on what really matters in life.
What is your life? It is but a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away. Golly, went a little morbid there for a moment, sorry about that.
Point being, 
I like the signs. 
I've friends and family that would love for us to move to Spokane but I cannot fathom ever wanting live anywhere I can't see the ocean. 

5 comments:

coopernicus said...

The spark never clicked before.... but I have an uncle that lives in Puget Sound... duuuuhhhhhh.

lime said...

I haven't lived in view of the ocean but I do need to live within reasonable driving distance of it. it's just one of several reasons why i vehemently opposed mr. lime's threat to move to western nebraska. though i do know things like storm cellars are the very inland reminder that nature is more powerful than we are and can re-arrange our lives in moments.

i will say for me the rhythm of nature has been about the change of seasons and corn fields. when i was moving to trinidad i realized i would miss the calender of corn and the way the landscape and sky changed as corn grew and was taken down and the way the air smelled near field. i cold not imagine there being something as dramatic a change as a cornfield throughout the year. and then i met cane fields and bamboo and rampant hibiscus.

Bijoux said...

Do the Great Lakes count? Like Lime, it's about the change of seasons here. I'd be okay with never seeing lake effect snow ever again though!

actonbell said...

I'd love to live within view of the ocean. Perhaps that's the appeal of cruising: spending an entire week on the water, feeling it beneath my feet all the time. And we don't shop, we go to the beach. It's a real craving.

The idea of living in most Midwestern areas is repellant, but I wouldn't mind living in Chicago, since Lake Michigan is such an enormous presence.

Jocelyn said...

I was raised in extremely arid country (central Montana), so it's surprising to me how much I resonate to the water. Shouldn't be a surprise, considering evolution and all--I mean, water is in us.

Anyhow, living a block off the world's largest freshwater lake (its surface area = South Carolina) has fed something within me, for sure.