Monday #46: Living On The Edge

I was about 17 the first time I saw the ocean and I have been in love with it ever since. I was the bleary-eyed teenager on sunshine-filled spring breaks in San Diego and the girl who dodged raindrops, young and in love, on gray, wind-whipped afternoons in Brighton.  I have swum through hundreds of tiny, stinging jellyfish in the choppy waters off the craggy cliffs of Costa Rica and have been slammed by the tall waves that beat against Cape Hatteras.  I have mixed pleasure with business on the magical, sinking city of Venice and have run along the edge of Montauk on a chilly November morning with friends.  In my 42 years, I have surely forgotten more than I have remembered, but not my oceans.  So many of my life’s best memories are punctuated by moments at the vast intersection of water, land and sky that I like to think of as the edge of the world.

I grew up in the landlocked midwest where kids of modest means, like me, only dreamed of seeing the ocean and often settled for the Missouri River or The Lake of The Ozarks.  Now I live in a coastal state and, while I am an hour’s drive from the shore, I know my home state is bordered by the sea and this gives me great satisfaction and peace of mind.  I can wake up in the morning and be at my ocean in less time than it takes me to write my blog.

This week I am putting in my miles on the island of Hilton Head.  With an amazing botanical landscape that features the swinging Spanish moss of the South, forests full of tropical palms and pines, a rainbow of native flora, and skies full of so many different birds, it is a nature lover’s paradise.  And, the island’s strict zoning and building laws make it one of the most aesthetically pleasing vacation destinations in America.  No billboards, no ugly streetside signage, no garish buildings trying to get you to open your wallet… just earthtones in regulated, one-storey configurations, buffeted by the trees that were growing here before anyone built anything at all. Runners can enjoy ten miles of the flattest, most beautifully packed sand beaches and, like me, are called to them with the rising sun.

If you want to see people who love life, go to the ocean at sunrise.  They are there walking, running, bicycling and dancing.  You can see them splashing their feet in the water, pointing out to the rolling waves, and bending over to examine and collect what the tide has left behind.  Before the umbrellas and beach chairs occupy the sand, this is a quiet, reverent place that rouses people from their beds to bear witness.  And, of course, the dogs are out, too!  While the air is still cool, they are chasing sticks and balls, shaggy and wet with saltwater and happily off-leash.

Charley the Labradoodle, Acey the Black Lab & Apple the Golden Retriever

My feelings when I am at the place where the land meets the water with the view of an endless horizon are probably akin to a religious experience.  I have always been more of a believer in Mystery and Story, but if there is a place where I could find the Divine, it would be at the seashore.

This morning I was up with the sun, and here is what the Ocean told me…

We humans are but a blip in our planet’s history, but we are part of a long, long chain of creatures, all of whom came from the water.

Beauty and wonder live side by side with danger.

The currency of nature is more priceless than any we could invent.

The ocean is so big, so grand, you will only ever see her treasures in bits and pieces…

…but, sometimes, she will show you something small and wonderful and let you feel very lucky.

There are places here on Earth where you can hold the stars in your hands.

Have a good week, my friends.

TRY THIS WEEK: Remember your Ocean.

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About Dar Hosta James

I am an artist living in New Jersey. I write and illustrate children's books, paint, draw, blog, coach, teach and speak about creativity.
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9 Responses to Monday #46: Living On The Edge

  1. Shirley says:

    Fabulous photos of beach treasures.

  2. Diane says:

    I love the beach. I am fortunate to live at the beach. I’m in heaven morning, noon and night.

  3. Thanks Dar, you said it best. There’s nothing like rising for the dawn over the open sea. Enjoy your beautiful spot. I’m just up the coast in Wilmington where we can drive out and see the sun rise with the dunes behind us and pelicans diving. Nothing like the ocean.

  4. Judy Shreve says:

    Dar – great summertime post. Love all the photos of the beach treasures. I spent most of my summers at the beach while growing up – here’s a great quote I just posted on my blog today!

    “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

    There’s nothing quite like the renewal one gets from the ocean.

    • Dar Hosta says:

      Thanks, Judy… Rilke is one of my very most ultimate favorite poets. So lyrical, yet so direct. No one says it like Rilke. Great to have you drop by! xo, Dar

  5. Pam Swallow says:

    I am writing from Portugal, where I have spent days at the beach. I align with your feelings about the ocean.

  6. Lee Hoover says:

    Researching for a photo shoot at a local beach and ran across your blog. Your word imagery is as beautiful as your photos. This escaped Hoosier loves living near the bay/ocean!

  7. Pingback: Monday #35: Inside Out | Dar Hosta's 52 Mondays Blog

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