Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ocean-born Peacemom

In my life, I've felt a strong attraction to the sea. I spent much time in my young childhood at the beach in Florida. I have vivid memories of many things from the beach, which included severe sunburns (I'm sure my parents probably used sunscreen, but I don't remember it) which included blisters and pain...I remember a day we found many horseshoe crabs on the beach, maybe this was after a hurricane, not sure...many, many tar stained feet as the blobs of tar would come up on shore from the oil tankers that went in and out of the port near the beach...stepping on an invisible jelly fish that was stranded on the sand...a jetty that seemed to go forever when you're a child...long days spent in the sun, playing with my sisters and cousin with shovels and pails and boogie boards...then...we moved north.
From the age of 10, and that's kind of funny, because I wholeheartedly feel that Milan, NH was my home town, but I didn't move there until I was 10. We moved to the heart of the beautiful, tree havened, black fly and mosquito infested White Mountains in 1978. Now, I can tell you, that is no where near any ocean. And it's funny to me to look back on it and see that my parents were also ocean loving people, and yet, we ended up living where I did not see the ocean again until I was 17 (save for one summer vacation spent in sunny FL visiting the relatives I had left 5 years earlier). The next time I can remember seeing the ocean was a trip to Old Orchard Beach with some high school friends the year I graduated high school. And I don't think I missed it all that much during those years because I spent them immursing myself in woods, trails, brooks and fields. I had horses, which at that age was all I ever wanted to do, in my life then. I had many friends at a local stable, where I was never able to have a horse of my own, but managed to ride, show and care for other people's horses. It was a great way to grow up in so many ways, and a really painful one in others. I realized that my family didn't have the money to ever have a horse of my own and so I started working when I was 13 picking snow peas and cleaning barns to earn enough to get my own horse. When I was finally able to free lease one, which means I paid all the bills and board for the horse, but she was owned by someone else, I had to work 7 nights a week at a local luncheonette cleaning until usually about 12:30 in the morning to earn enough to keep her. It was exhausting and incredibly hard to do along with finding time to ride and care for her and be in school as well. I remember those days in my life as fleeting and tenuous, always worried about how I would make the board and put shoes on my horse that needed special (read EXPENSIVE) shoes, would there be enough money to enter that horse show I so desperately wanted to compete in? It was a lot of pressure for someone so young, but certainly taught me how to deal with it as I've aged and the pressures continued, but now it's children and the mortgage.
When I met my now husband, I felt a kindred spirit in him since he also loves the ocean. We will go coastward on a lovely day, knowing that there will be rejuvenation and comfort in that smell and the sound of waves. When I am troubled and just need some thinking space, it's to the ocean I go. When I'm celebrating and feeling joy, it's to the ocean I want to go. Just wanting to slip my kayak into that salt water, feeling the resistance of the water on the blades and hearing the glup, glup of the blades in and out of the water. Yes, those moments and the smell of salty, fishy, briney air thrill me in a way no mountain can do. And I love the mountains, but oh, that surf...that rocky coast...that solice. It does a soul good.
Music Man and I are raising children that love the sea as much as we do. Invariably, when we plan a surprise adventure with the boys, it is to the coast we head. They have both learned to check first in the back of the van to see if the big green bag of beach toys are back there. If they see them, they will just get silly-giddy, knowing they are in for some digging in the beach, splashing in the surf and waves and hunting for treasure along the tide line. We hope we are instilling in them a love and appreciation for what the ocean has to offer, not just food, or recreation, but also peace and time to reflect and meditate. For if they don't learn to love it, how can they ever want to care for it? More time, less stuff...that's one of my favorite mottos.
Salty, foamy brine to you, ~Peacemom

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