Beauty & the Beach


Lulled by the steady crashing of the waves, called by the cries of the gulls, and cradled by the warmth of the sand, Andy and I made our way to Ogunquit Beach. Though the water was almost 70 degrees (very high for Maine, thanks to a few days of 90 degree heat), it still stung at my feet, and I would not be going in. (Andy would brave it a couple of days later.) Protected by sunscreen and a straw hat, I also brought a towel and a book, and that’s all I’ve ever needed to have a good time.

The beach never fails to enchant, and those unfortunate folks who aren’t beach people, who can’t access its magic and calm, will always be suspect in my mind.

There is beauty all around, but sometimes you have to look for it, and sometimes you have to patiently wait for it to reveal itself. When one is accustomed to the cheap thrills of online entertainment or televised madness, the shore may not initially astound. But for those of us who have retained that wonder, who still have the ability to appreciate the simple and the still, it will hold us rapt.

Little gems can be found, hidden among the mounds of seaweed, speckled with sand, adorned with the fallen feathers of sea birds.

Like some wild necklace, strands of sea plants lie in brittle, dry swirls ~ the discarded jewelry of a mythical siren ~ sadly beautiful and gorgeously tortured.

It can be so deceptively seductive, ever-ready to turn in a few moments. A squall will blow in from seemingly nowhere, some maelstrom of dangerous circular activity, the warning fluttering of fish on the surface before a rising leviathan. The peace of the sea may never last, but it will always return. Sometimes, on sunny days, it’s easy to lose yourself to all the oceanic glamour, to willingly give up the sanity of shore to the freedom of those rolling waves. “Drawn by the undertow, my life is out of control, If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor…” The song drones dimly in my head, compounded by the pounding water, at once at odds, at once in unison, and all of it dazzling in the light sparkling off the sea.

Bits of wreckage and bulbous seaweed pods, the trapped finery of a lost feather, and the mangled limbs of a multitude of tiny crabs – all get swirled together, then dropped upon the sand, left for dead beneath the unrelenting elements: a fiery sun, a sand-stinging wind, the very ocean itself.

It has a way of bending time. Like the warped, once-malleable sea life, time too gets distorted here where land meets water meets sky. It’s tricky business, meddling with such elemental forces, and there is always the possibility of ruin, but it’s a beautiful ruin.

We depart in a daze.

Does the ship see?

Are they looking back too?

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