Sunday, July 14, 2019

Gift from the Sea

Judith writes:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea has long been a source of inspiration. Her meditations on youth and age, peace and solitude, contemplation and creativity are as relevant today as they were in 1955 when the book was published. Over the years I have read and re-read her musings, taking her metaphors of seashells to heart. In those days plastic did not wash ashore. 
Today, at the edge of the Pacific where, as a pilgrim, I meandered the high tide line of Kehoe Beach, I unfurled the long line of scotch tape that holds the wisdom of her words. After months of meticulous work using tape to "lift" the words from the book, it was a momentous occasion to finally see the continuous line appear as if washed ashore, as a gift from the sea...

Adrift in the toss of the wrack, along the edge of eel grass and kelp, where the land meets the sea, the line of the book reminds that... 

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea” 

Another gift from the sea came on a life-changing day in 1999 when Richard Lang, on our first date, introduced me to Kehoe Beach. On that day, he gave the gift of a place that has become the site of our enduring devotion. We've been there hundreds of times to gather plastic debris washing out of the Pacific Ocean. From this one beach we have collected over two tons (and counting) of material. By carefully collecting and "curating" the bits of plastic, we fashion it into works of art that matter-of-factly show, with minimal artifice, the material as it is. This place has become the source of the palette for our creative collaboration. But, it is not just the plastic that brings us here again and again. It's the skittering of the sandpipers and the swoop of the Peregrin Falcons, the ocean breezes and the rhythm of the waves, the swell of the dunes and the vastness of the horizon. 

At the end of the afternoon as I gathered the length of tape to bring it home, in the tangled piles and in the final words of the book I discovered the message of the day:
We tend not to choose the unknown which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet, it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching. 

There are more shells to find. This is only the beginning.

The treasured gift of the embrace of friends and family.