Sunday, February 12, 2006

Back to the Sea!

Yesterday, for the first time in over a year, I got over to sit by my beloved ocean for a little while. It's been a rough go of it, healthwise, for almost a year now. My husband drove me. and I sat on a bench, watching the last of the sunworshipers, the swimmers, and kids turning cartwheels in the warm ocean breeze at four in the afternoon.(Yes, ye northerners, it was a warm day here in South Florida:-)

Usually, I prefer the ocean at dawn or at near dusk, when only the walkers and joggers are around and the sky is beginning its milky pink change into day or night, but this is when my husband could take me. I'm too dizzy to drive yet, so...
The sea has always been a place of meditation for me. Before CFIDS, when I was able to bike, every weekend, weather permitting, my neighbor and I left at dawn, biked over to the ocean then turned north into Palm Beach for our weekly twenty-six mile round-trip ride. The ocean lay to our right. Exclusive Palm Beach mansions rose to our left. Trump's private club (formerly the Trump Mansion) that set Palm Beachers in a twitter (oh the fuss when The Beach Boys performed there!), was on our route.

Even better were times I could get out on my boat, out past the inlet when the tide was changing and the water went from pale clear green to deep turquise in an abrupt line, as if a child had drawn the two colors next to each other. When I lived in Hawaii, the newspaper ran a poll and published the results. How many people felt trapped living on an island, they asked. It came out about fifty-fifty, as I recall. The strange part was that it had never occurred to me to feel trapped there. The sea was simply an extension of the land I stood upon. I loved that I could circle the island and see it to my right almost the entire way.

I'm posting one of my favorite sea poems below. I would imagine most of you have read it over the years at some point. If you have a favorite, tell me about it. I love poems that laud the sea.


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)
Found on This Site


Michelle e o said...

Lovely memories Pris, glad you got a chance to enjoy it again.

Berenice said...

As you know Pris, I live by the sea. I first drove over the headland...having taken a wrong turn on my first day here...and saw a stunning view of a huge curving bay and a peninsula with another headland at its end. I had come home. I was seeing my future. Now I am in that future. Step out of my front door and look left from the garden gate and there it is...that restless blue/grey ocean.

Today it is a cold sea. Heavy with the reflection of rain-sodden clouds.

That poem is one of my favourites.

tom said...

i have always loved that poem since i first read it in high school.

for me it is lake superior

only a ten minute drive to bucky's beach or a day trip that takes us past many beachs ( sand or cobble)

Pris said...

I was glad, too. So very nice.

As you know, I've seen photos of where you live and how the sea is everywhere. Your town is beautiful! So lucky to look just out your door and see such a view!


Pris said...

Hi Tom
When I was in grad school I was in Illinois, so had a chance to see at least one of the great lakes. They're HUGE and beautiful.

Geoff Sanderson said...

P - I love this post, and the thought of you enjoying the ocean again (even tho' you could only look at it).
A little-known poem ('just as well' I hear you say) that J. Masefield forgot to write has just been discovered in England, at the bottom of an old sea-chest - where they should have left it, in my opinion :-)

I must go down to see Pris again
By the lonely sea and the sky
And all I ask is a long drink
And a moon to see her by
As her cheeks glow in the winds' blow sets my heart shaking
And the gulls cry and my long sigh
as my thirst I'm slaking.

Pris said...

awww....that's really nice. Glad you dug it out of that chest!

Ellen M Johns said...

Beside the sea....the best place to be. So glad you had time there and am sure it refreshed you, both in body, mind and soul.