at home 3 — the sea
Last summer I discovered I like the sea and the beach.
It was quite a personal discovery. For years I had believed that a day at the beach was hot, boring and full of sand. And I had little love for the sand that followed me home. But there it was for days. Some of it stayed all summer.
But last summer, the combination of the heat, floating in the sea and then resting on the beach and doing nothing — something about all that changed for me. And I decided it was a good way to keep cool and I even enjoyed it.
And somewhere along the way, I made peace with the heat and sand. It’s just part of the experience. It is what it is.
So this summer, what?
Yes, I still love the beach and sea, and maybe more, but it’s hard to quantify those sorts of things.
And I like to go early in the morning, because now that it is full-blown summer, the beaches are busy after 9 o’clock.
I’ve swam in lots of bodies of water over the years both artifical and natural and I really like the sea and the sandy pebbly beaches of Pinedo, El Saler and Perellonet, just south of the city. It’s a gentle slope in and out. Sandy, yet lots of pretty pebbles on the beach for amusement. The water is clean, or seems clean. I’ve seen shoals of fish, as well as signs of life on the beach.
I only swim in summer, but it is a place I visit year-round, and it’s lovely then too.
my connection with the moutains
For years, without doubt, I believed myself to be a mountains-person. And I still love the mountains, but I have a growing affection for the sea and the beach, particularly the Albufera and its little towns, south of the city (Valencia).
Like anything or anyone we like or dislike, I attribute my change of heart to patience, interest or willingness to get to know each other better.
A few times a year I teach at an education and retreat center in Catalunya, in the mountains! When I come home to Valencia after a course, I’m always glad and grateful for my urban comforts, the return to friends and a different pace of life.
Eventually though, the longing for the mountains will return. And not just for their beauty or the peace and solitude of the place, but also for the joyfully militant energy present at both of those projects.
One day last summer, home from teaching in the mountains, I had gone down to the Albufera for a bike ride, “the most wild and rugged that it gets here on the Mediterrain coast” I grumbled to myself.
And at some point it struck me while looking out into the vastness of the sea to my left, “Wow, wild, rugged? what is more wild and rugged than the sea?” Although at that moment the sea was calm and there was hardly a breeze.
we are mother nature
If the sea and a moutain had a fight, I impossibly and nonsensically reckoned, the sea would win becaue it would simple wear away at the mountain until it was pebble. or cracked apart and disappeared into the sea.
At that moment the sea really won my respect. Respect not in the sense of “hurrah one team triumped over another!” but because I realized just how powerful and all encompassing the sea is.
That’s what I appreciate about the moutains — this sense they give me of belonging to something so much bigger than me, but yes, it is me. She is me. That tree, that forest, that river, and little gems like spiders’ webs and wild flowers, everything in the mountians are me. The mountains are Mother Nature. Mother Nature is me. And now I can also see myself as the sea.
The lapping of the waves, like the beating of my heart, like my breath. Access to my depths and buried treasure but fearful of my own uncharted waters. Yet I am open and curious too. My comfort zone is expanding.
And that feels good. It feels like home.