Yesterday I spent a pleasant afternoon at the beach with a brother and sister of mine. A sunny Spring day invited us to walk barefoot on the spongy sands and watch the undulating motion of the vast ocean on a sparsely populated beach.
My brother told me that at the end of a nature hike, the kids in his summer camp where he works are invited to find a spot away from others and, “just be in silence and allow your mind to wander in the presence of nature.” It is called a “solo sit.”
After walking for 90 minutes, my siblings and I place towels on the sand in a slight incline, and plop down. All three of us drop into a silent “solo sit”. I add a modified version of an exercise I learned in poetry class. You close your eyes, breathe, and with closed eyes pick 3 things you hear, sense, and smell. Then you open your eyes and pick 3 things you see. This is what I got.
1. Wave roar builds, crashes, splashes, tinkling pebbles on the sand
2. Seagull squawks above my head
3. Young voices squeal and laugh in the surf
1. Warm wind against my arm hairs
2. Heat from sun on bottom of my feet
3. Weight of my upper back and hips held by packed sand bed
1. Coconut sunblock
2. Fishy kelp
3. Salty air
1. Denim blue waves, like a dinosaur opens its mouth big then bigger, shows white teeth then snaps them down, crunches air and slides them foamy shut.
2. White boy in black trunks with black boy in red trunks squeal and laugh in the surf.
3. Curlew stabs madly at sand crabs on shiny sheath of dark wet sand before the next wave breaks.
REFLECTION: I had just put on a big party for Easter with lots of guests and people staying overnight. My head was full of dyed Easter eggs, limoncello coated almonds, laughing voices, licorice jellybeans, fun card games and cheesecake shaped like a bunny rabbit. All those Easter yellows and pinks and my need for everyone to be a happy guest float through my brain. The party is over. Nothing more to clean, to cook, to control. No more worry that someone may spill gravy or juice on my new white and pink tablecloth (we had some minor spills, easily cleaned up). I am at the beach now. The sound of roaring waves, the warm wind on my skin, the salty air smell, gleeful kids and curlews want to be noticed. I take them in, one sense at a time. The sounds, senses, smells and sights slide me slowly into silky sweet surrender. Nature tumbles my psyche like a washing machine. In goes the Easter pastel tablecloth, dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies, and the worry about spills. Hit Start. Soak. Wash. Rinse. Spin. I spin away from hosting stress like a tired receding wave to be followed by the energetic roar of the next wave, ready to take another toothy bite out of life.
With that renewed energy, I painted joyfully with my sister today, while she introduced me to the engaging music of her favorite band, “The Mother Hips”. I love their song, “Tierra Dievers”. #themotherhips #beachpoetry #naturepoetry #communicationbreakthrough