Next month we are going to the beach. When I imagine a beach it is sandy and warm with a breathtaking sunset. Not everywhere the ocean meets land is like that. Those cold, rocky edges seem to be called shores. I imagine the shore as a wall to kkep the cold dark, stormy water at bay.
I go for my wife. The beach renews her. Ths sound of the surf, odd things washed ashore, the feel of sand in everything all take her back to some primal place. All of that takes me to the shower in a futile effort to get all of the sand washed off.
Give me a mountain lake, the aroma of evergreen needles, the sound of fish jumping at dusk, the eerie cry of a loon. Give me a sleeping bag redolent of my own musk and the odors of past vacations and the persistent scent of past campfires. I want a tent that smells not of plasticizers, but of the needles and leaf litter and rich soil of other places like the one today. Give me a place that brings back memories of a screech owl’s cry at dusk and the sight of an eagle rising from the water with a still struggling meal.
Give me toothy creatures lurking just past the firelight, not in the water. Toothy creatures in the ocean terrify me. I feel some kinship with those watching in the woods.
Some people find renewal in the stacks in a library. Some find it at the symphony. That’s all right. The important thing is that we all need to find that thing that renews our soul. It’s hard to say that this is a particularly bad time in history. I can think of a lot worse. But, it is a time when we have to search for hope.
Go to your studio and make something.
Work in your garden.
Write a novel.
Schedule lunch with an old friend.
Find the thing that makes you feel whole again.