Friday, March 18, 2016

30 Days

There is a belief among some that you should go to nature to heal yourself.  For me, I have always been both infatuated with, and mesmerized by, the spot where the water meets the shore. It is this spot that provides a healing that is difficult to localize elsewhere.   Being at the the shore offers me a level of perspective that diminishes proportionally to the increase in distance from that edge.  Growing up on an island, particularly a small island, the shoreline -- that place where land and sea meet -- is so intimately wrapped up in my identity, that it appears frequently, like an honorary member of my family.   Although its meanings are multiple in nature, most of all and lately, the shoreline has been a crutch.  A place where I am gently reminded of how great and big the world is.   A place where I am nudged to see life as an adventure, one that I am privileged to take part in.    

March 12, 2016.   

I woke up early today to get to the shore before the sun rises.  This is a common-enough practice for me.  The familiar gurgling of the coffee maker (timed and scheduled the night before) wakes me, I rise and fumble through the dark to find warmer clothes to prepare for the cold air I know awaits.  A quick look outside lets me know that I have about 30 minutes until the sun will appear on the horizon, an edge unto itself.   Today is special, and although my typical path takes me in one direction or another along the Charlottetown Boardwalk, today it feels important to go somewhere different.  My choice is the shoreline at the bottom of the Kinlock Road in Stratford.
oments are precious and fleeting and feel important to see in their entirety, so I hurry to get out the door.

The quiet drive occurs without any events of note.  I arrive before the sun begins to peek out on the distance and so the edge is lost in the darkness of the morning.  I can hear the water in the distance, not the steady rippling of the soft waves that is typical in the summer months.  This morning there is an erratic manner to the sound of the water, not unlike my unsteady footsteps in the dark, almost as though the water’s path is also hindered by the darkness.  Slowly I begin to feel the change under my feet from dirt path to a mixture of snow and ice.  I pause and picture what this spot looks like in the summer, how it smells and what I would see.  The winter, as it does to most everything, has served to mute the sounds and the smell of the water and I know that it will mute how this shore looks.  It occurs to me that the way the winter mutes the shore is the way the rest of the world can mute our feelings.

As the sun begins its ascent on the horizon my walk along the edge is slowly illuminated.  The clearly defined edge I see in the distance is contrasted sharply with the edge I see at my feet.  The ice and snow create a barrier between the shore and the water, a precarious bridge of sorts.  In a way, it is sad to see the water so kept at bay.  Even in the height of summer, this is not the beach that is used to entice tourists to our island, it is small and is rarely conducive to capitalizing on the lazy days of summer.   But this spot holds some of my most treasured memories, emotions are tied to most everything I see.      

My being here this morning is purposeful.  As the sunlight floods the shore in the way the water cannot I am reminded of my purpose here: to be healed.  I am small on the edge, but more than that, my problems are small on the edge.  The perspective I needed today, on day 30, was given.  And although I am confident that the perspective will vanish as the day goes on, I am leaving the edge feeling better than when I arrived.  I actively choose not to take a camera, phone or music with me.  Technology in a place like this feels like an intrusion; inappropriate and unwelcomed.   The purpose is private and sharing reminds me of the vulnerability of this experience.