Voice of the sea…

‘The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.’

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Life sometimes makes me anxious.

I’m sure it makes everyone anxious. But the one place I feel content, free and at peace is in, on or by the sea. I wish Mum was still alive so that I could ask her how old I was when I was introduced to the sea.

When did I learn to swim? My memories go back to a time when I could swim and dive, perhaps I was six. After that, the memories come thick and fast… and the best ones are always because I have the sea as my friend. It has always beguiled me. Summer and winter.

I remember my cousin, Peter, marvelling that at 9 or 10 years of age, I would spend the whole day swimming – the whole day! From morning till evening! I lived in a swim suit and my hair turned an odd silver colour. And when I started competitive swimming (in chlorinated pools), it turned an odd shade of green.

I’m currently reading about Buddhism, so perhaps I was a fish in a past life. Or a fisherman. Maybe a pearl-diver. Maybe I was one of the honoured women who dived for byssus, the dainty mollusc filaments that could be spun to make some of the finest silk in the world. (Byssus features in Michael, Book Three of The Triptych Chronicle)

Today my husband and I went boating.

To my most favourite place in the world, Maria Island. We waited till people had returned to work and we had the sea almost to ourselves. The bays we chose to visit were empty of folk. The solitude was colossal.

I’ve read that no matter what words one uses to describe the sea, it is never enough – that the colour, feel, fragrance can never really be captured. Descriptions drift through one’s mind like the very grains of sand that line the ocean bottom but they fall short.

What is turquoise? Is that word enough to describe the sea today?

And silk? To describe the surface?

And what about glass to describe the clarity?

To me, leaning over the gunwhales to take a picture of the water, I felt like Alice Through the Looking Glass. One slip, and I would fall into a different world – beyond any experience I could imagine.

Today was a wonderful day to slip into the files of memory for when summer is over and winter’s cool days force us back to shore again.

‘The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.’ Kate Chopin