The change in the seasons has me edgy this year. I can feel an undercurrent running through me that has me looking for Whitman warning me to sing my body electric. I felt its thrill in a breeze that refused to die in a clinging summer’s finger tips just this afternoon and for some reason I remembered a family vacation in a long forgotten April.
There were times when I once felt as if I was hidden inside a petrified chrysalis and I began to finally break free at this same time when we made one of our usual trips home to California. This trip was different, however. This trip was desperately needed for me and my family. Not just for Disneyland or for visiting friends. Not just for the chili fries at our favorite burger stand. We needed this trip because I needed the beach. The beach is restorative to me. My pulse tunes itself to the ocean’s and it reminds me to breathe. I don’t live by the beach anymore. I live in the mountains where I rely on their strength and resiliency. But the beach sings to me and my body.
It sings my body electric.
California sunshine is different here, where the sun mixes with beach salt air. It’s like walking through invisible ocean. And it’s who I am. Freckles sprouted onto my nose like they belonged there because they do. I found my rhythm in my step with each sinking footstep in the sand. And milkshakes taste better when you have them at the end of a pier. We watched sailboats come in and seals play hide and seek in the waves. My sister and I felt an earthquake rock beneath us while we felt the sand shift beneath us. Somehow it didn’t concern us in the least. It felt like we were home.
I felt like that earthquake seemed right — it didn’t matter how much my earth shook that year. My sand shifted just a little, but in the end the ground was still just the same and my family was still around me. And the ocean was still in front of me. The tide will come in. The tide will ebb. Waves roll in. Waves pull back. And the beach brought me back to my roots, something I had long avoided and kept locked away. But the salty air found its way into my soul by way of my hair. It didn’t matter how hard I worked to leave behind that part of me growing up, and to recreate who I was and start all over. Like the ocean, I ebbed and flowed. Ebbing. Flowing. Changing. Growing. Deep and mysterious. Uncertain at times. I moved with a tide that is pulled by some sort of a magnetic force.
Life continues. I smiled for the first time in months. Just in time for family portraits. Where else? On the beach I grew up on — capturing my first real laugh in many, many months. I was home again to catch that first laugh. I didn’t know that I laughed because I was home; that’s how it usually goes.
I now live somewhere in the mountains, another place that I love with their magisterial beauty. What you see is what you get with mountains, and I respect that. I know that when I walk into the mountains I will always find the same pines, the aspens, the rocks. I will find the sun shining, making them look as if they are on fire in a way that reminds me of what El Dorado must look like.
Perhaps this is why I resisted the ocean so much when I was younger. I didn’t want sand shifting beneath me. I didn’t want to look down and see murkiness past my thighs. Singing my body electric scared me then, but now I am older and understand the way life naturally flows it’s who I am. Now. Transitioning from low tide to high tide, rolling. The changing seasons have me edgy because it’s the feeling of waves moving around me again; it’s time to allow my arms to greet the moon and feel the currents flow instead of fight them.
Faith might move mountains, but it’s how the ocean moves me that gives me faith.
And I have never felt more electric.
- Recovery From Quarantine - November 9, 2020
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- By the Moon’s Light - March 17, 2020
9 thoughts on “Could home and the ocean save my body electric?”
You've so captured your connection to a place with your words…something that stills my heart every day when I look at my ocean.
Yes. It belongs to me.
I love this too! I also about a beach, which maybe is why it struck me so strongly. But probably it was your beautiful writing. Can't wait to read more!
scrumptious words! love how you painted this. maybe it's just because i love to eat, but my favorite line was : And milkshakes taste better when you have them at the end of a pier.
i love, love, love this, too. body electric: absolutely. me, i like looking at the ocean, but sand? oh goodness no. you know i love you, right? a lot.
and what a beautiful smile it was…
for me, that place is the mountains.
i am so glad you had that time this year, to come back to yourself, you glow.
I moved away from California half my lifetime ago. I never felt like a California girl when I was there, but everyone sees me as one now. When I go back, I belong more than I thought I did back then and I need that ocean connection too…the one we all take for granted.
The beach soothes me. The water, the wind, the waves. The sounds, smells, the salty kiss on my skin. I sigh, fulfilled.
Your smile, it is electric. Excellent post. As always.
I love your Whitman reference! "I sing the body electric" is such a fantastic line. I completely agree with you about the power going to the ocean. Last year I was in California for Christmas and after the tension-filled family dinner my grandma and I up and left, driving to the beach. It was such a healing moment for me, and the way you described your time at the beach was perfect. I'm happy you got to have that experience!
Love, love, love this. Body Electric. Such a beautiful family. I see joy.
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