Yesterday I was about to write a blog post about the amazing creature that is a friend. But as I went to write, I discovered that my blog had been taken out of my control. Boom! The stool knocked right out from under me. Here I was trying to put good into the world and think better of all that I experienced and yet my voice was being taken away! If we changers and creators are not careful, our view of the world can very quickly switch to that of one where we are struggling against a current and everything is our enemy. This is the mood that I was in. It was a pretty dark tunnel of self pity. So, I hoisted myself up off the floor (literally) and drove to the beach. I would like you to come with me…
Island View beach is the spot I chose. To be reached, I am required to drive a short way out of the city and through a tiny bit of farmland. This is what first attracted me about the beach. Every time that I visit BC and feel nostalgia for my Ontario home I come to this beach. The dry, golden farmlands are the most familiar part of the otherwise hilly, oceanic and mossy rainforest that is Vancouver Island.
I park and begin to walk on the trail trying to get as far from the parking lot and people as possible. I know that I will be called to the spot where I am supposed to sit and learn tonight. On one side of the trail is a meadow of tall grass and rose bushes, fenced by blue jagged rows of trees and hills. Everywhere there is a fuzzy golden outline.
On the other side is the ocean view that you see in the first picture. There are many layers of interestingly shaped islands, and on a clear day you can see Mount Baker. Lacing the two views together is a beautiful snake that dances around my feet on the path and then glides off.
The beach is littered with skeletal driftwood. Its smooth white limbs arching and dancing across the sand. A tangle of logs will hold me.
I am startled by a gnarled, orange, metal ball that is beside the seat that I have found. I see that it used to be a bed frame but has now been smushed and completely rusted by the sea. My first reaction is “Ugh, manmade litter!” but then I realize that it is actually stunning with its beautiful scars and wear. I accept that and move my eyes to the next closest object. It is a driftwood stump and I am sitting in a direct line between it and the sun. This means that a shadow of my torso is cast onto the stump, fitting perfectly in its shape. So, there across from me is an all grey girl with short bouncing hair. Okay. Hello stump-shadow-person. Thank you for joining me here.
Up and down the water there are happy dogs prancing around. Now they know what to do with a beach! Just don’t come and shake your fur near me please! Oops. I thought too loud, here comes a hairy wetness grenade right up to my feet. Alright dog you can shake if you want, I won’t be a sissy. And he moves on leaving me dry.
I turn to the sea. There is one island that is my favourite (in the left of the picture). I love imagining what great creature came and took a bite off of its end in order to create such a defined slope. Then I imagine how all the trees moved to look at the wound and peer over the edge, leaving a clear sloping meadow. Meadows are beautiful for their beckoning possibility. I could roll down that hill and twirl in the grass. I could see the stars from its bed.
Ah, but there is water between us.
What I want is never within reach, I think. I miss you, why aren’t you here with me? Self pity comes in again. I’m no longer seeing the beautiful view in front of me. Instead I am running through a list of all that has gone wrong recently. I think of all those that fit in the you of “I miss you”. Where are you now? What are you doing? Why does it always come to this same thought? This same depression and wondering. Suddenly a bright red bug appears in between my clasped hands. It tickles my palms as it walks around in a pleasant dance. Oh! There you are. Of course, you are here with me, and that’s not what matters.
Move on. The bug says as it flies away.
Alright. People always say that water teaches many things. So I will stare at that and try to figure out what it is I am trying to figure out. Wow, the waves just keep coming! I am tired just looking at them. Over and over the water rises in straight dark lines only to have a delicate white lace ruffle out along the rise. Then up and over rocks and sand it goes. Heaving its heavy self around the earth. Reaching and stretching. Water keeps moving all the time! Even if no one was here to see it, a wave would still go through all of the intricacies of its short life. How do you have the energy to keep on moving? I ask the water as I suddenly feel overwhelmed with exhaustion.
The wind helps me, she answers.
Suddenly I am aware of the wind. It has been gently tugging at my hair and my skirt like a little sister. Listen. Listen, it tells me. And now all of my experience is filled with sound. Was it mute before? How could I have missed the chirping birds singing behind me? They sound like…hmmm. They sound like a taste – sweet lemonade, a colour – peach, and a feeling – morning grass through your fingers. Do my senses make sense?
The sand and the waves are sighing as they come together. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable, their moan at each kiss is slightly indecent in its sultry tone. It’s the sigh of two bodies meeting together for an eternity. There is no adolescent fumbling. They know exactly where to place their hands and lips. Like a puzzle, they would be one if she didn’t keep tearing herself away.
I feel sad again.
What do you know that I don’t, water? She doesn’t care to respond. I am lost in her movement, finally going deeper into that feeling of sadness. What am I afraid of?
Being seen as I truly am. As a liar.
I don’t know what I seem to know. Me either, say the trees on the ledge of the island.
Okay, but trees you don’t understand. If people really knew who I am they would cast me out disgusted.
I am looking down at the sand. People’s foot prints have made holes and if I were a giant it could be the desert. The holes turn into mountains and valleys. The sun is setting, so even the shadows cast look like pictures of deserts that I have seen. Deserts. I am reminded of a close friend I made this year who came from the desert. He has seen who I truly am and he isn’t disgusted.
See? Who doesn’t know you? Who do you hide yourself from? The trees insist. You may have been artificial in the past, but you do not hide now. You have more substantial things to think about then how you appear to people.
Duh. Of course, you’re right. I am not a fraud! I don’t even know where that thought came from. Okay, I think I am done with this silly self pity thing now.
And with that a great blue heron lopes in. He lands in the water just in front of me and I grin with delight. A great blue heron used to live in the river beside my house in Fergus. He became the mascot for that period of my life, and seeing him here again is a gift. Nature is rewarding me by sending me my old friend and that familiar comfort. It is as though a childhood blanket has been wrapped around me and my strength is restored. Thank you.
Just then a hawk flies above it and stops mid air. It stands back and flaps its wings so that it stays suspended. Revealed, right in front of me are the golden feathers that normally hide under the brown trench coat. Flashing me against the perfectly smooth light blue sky I am baffled by this hawk’s beauty. You’re welcome for the view! she says saucily as she flies away. The blue heron is “so over” the hawk and just keeps on standing.
This is awesome! I’ve got to share this! I reach in my bag for my journal…
What do I see?
- happy dogs
- flasher hawks
- a half eaten island
- a girl taking pictures of herself for a straight hour
I look up thinking what else, just as a pristine white sail boat floats in to view. I actually laugh out loud. I am really getting a full show tonight! Sometimes the universe really shows off in a hilariously obvious way.
A rock catches my eye and I go to pick it up. It is purple and big. I hold it for a while as time moves on. I see many people pass and feel the waning of the day. Sometimes I try to “think really loud” at people and tell them to come sit with me. I want to tell you all that I have seen tonight. I want to hear what you have seen! Why won’t people just sit down and talk to strangers? Why don’t I do that? Respect. “Manners”. Privacy. Fear. Right, of course. There are sometimes when I am sitting in a park and I don’t want anyone to come near me. How would people be able to tell the difference? There is no obvious visible sign for when I am open to conversation or not.
But I am lonely now.
I realize that the rock in my hand feels like someone else’s hand. It is bigger than my hand, softly rough and warm. It fills up my hand the way a boy’s does. Ignoring how lame it might be, I let this rock soothe my loneliness.
My “rockmance” is interrupted by two very loud girls walking down the beach. Two other girls are coming from the other side. Woah! They are chirping with excited “Oh I know!” “Totally” “I’m like really…” you get the point. I laugh to myself but try not to look (or be) pretentious.
The wind swoops in to tell me better. It catches the trailing sentence of something a girl is saying and shows me that it sounds exactly like thoughts that I have. And then woosh I understand. I am just like everyone and everything. I am spread out over the earth and the earth is spread out in me. My shape is a shadow on a stump. My thoughts are a girl’s loud speech. My voice is the birds. My hands are the stones. And I am the wind.
I close my eyes and let the now rushing wind take me away. All of the boundaries of my body erase and I imagine I am fluidly flying. Ever expanding until I reach the whole universe.
You don’t need your ego you don’t need to be afraid of dissolving yourself completely. There is nothing you need to hold on to. This is how you were meant to live. Soaring and connected.
I tell myself in the voice of the wind.
Pure bliss and peace. Understanding. Thank you. I know that this is why I came here tonight. This is the experience I was meant to have. I know that the wind is my friend and it will let me have it again. I am not afraid to leave it and open my eyes.
When I do, I see a tall blade of grass in front of me moving with the same rhythm with the wind that I was. Again, I laugh out loud. The grass is having the same experience as I am. It too is saying “I am the wind”, and delighting in the ride the wind is kind enough to take us on. Ahh. I gather my things and begin to walk back to the car. Over the ocean a bald eagle soars out to call in the birds. With each swoop it gathers every bird and sends them to bed.
“The earth has music for those who listen.”
By the way, no drugs/stimulants were used in the making of this memory.