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They come in a series of seven.
And the seventh wave is big enough…
…to take us both out
beyond the point of return.
~ Papillon   (Henri Charrière)

Walking along the seashore, it’s obvious that not all waves possess the same strength.  Some trickle onto the shore while others crash and extend a farther reach onto the sand.  Many have wondered if there’s some kind of pattern to the frequency of the stronger waves.  

Wave height and strength are determined by a number of factors:

  • the force of the wind (the stronger the wind, the larger the wave)
  • the distance over which the water is affected by the wind (the longer the distance, the larger the wave)
  • tidal action (incoming high tides into a small inlet from a larger expanse of water can cause especially large waves)
  • seismic activity beneath the ocean floor (these can sometimes cause huge waves to occur)
  • the depth of the water (waves cannot sustain their height once they reach shallow water)

The magic of the seventh wave continues to elude shoreline visitors across cultures.  Surfers are especially keen wave watchers, always on the look-out for the perfect wave to catch.  Some may have been able to find small patterns in the course of a single day on a specific beach but this usually involves a series of fewer or more than seven waves.  Though experts say there’s no way to predict the frequency of stronger waves, the French story of an island prisoner in Papillon details a swim to freedom enabled by the seventh wave.  

The waves have pounded the earth’s shorelines for millennia and will continue to do so long after we’re gone.  Wave patterns are altered from hour to hour, day to day and year to year.  Despite ongoing changes, the mystery and power of the seventh wave will likely endure.

Every ripple on the ocean
Every leaf on every tree
Every sand dune in the desert
Every power we never see
There is a deeper wave than this
                      . . .
I say love is the seventh wave.
~ Sting

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… here is the deepest secret nobody knows


(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud


and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart).
~ ee cummings

The world has many secrets. Some are ancient but new ones are made (and revealed) daily.  This one is probably the most wonderful.  It’s what allows people to go on and remain connected to one another, despite the suffering brought on by separation, either through death or some other circumstance. 

Someone might read Cumming’s poem and think of romantic love, another the love between a parent or grandparent and a child, the love between siblings or friends or the love of God.  Regardless of how many hearts we hold within our hearts, somehow, they are always large enough to hold these all in.  And that, in itself, is a wonder.

This morning’s clear November sky allowed me to find these images: the root in an upturned tree (the negative image is shown), the bud in one of next year’s frosted Rhododendron buds, and a spruce tree at sunrise along the salt marsh trail.  Birch and maple leaves provided the background for the shape of the heart within a heart.

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around the corner

We humans are creatures of habit and the older we become, the more we appreciate that which is predictable.  We learn to work around familiar limitations and establish routines that make the most of the positive.  However, seasons change, both in the weather and in our daily lives.  Fresh green leaves turn red as the weather cools and autumn comes knocking on the door, indicators of more changes waiting just around the corner. 

JJ&G sept 09Numerous events over the past couple of weeks have prevented me from posting with the same regularity as before: the birth of a second grandson with more time spent caring for his older brother; the death of my quilting group’s mentor; a new job substituting at a preschool; and final visits with my middle son prior to his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Some changes are more welcome than others.  Some are anticipated, while others come as a complete surprise.  We never know what’s around the corner, only that change is imminent and part of life on the planet.   

sunflowerWhether good or bad, change usually brings stress and requires a period of adjustment before bearings can be found again. Nevertheless, new challenges and situations present opportunities for transformation once we dare to break free from our comfort zones.   As long as we’re alive, there is potential for growth.

Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of the seasons.
~ Kahlil Gibran

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heart stone

Looking for heart-shaped stones on the beach is something I’d never thought of doing until recently.  Many people have collections of these.  Who would have thought anyone would consider a ‘heart of stone’ something worth searching for?

Beaches are favorite places for couples to visit.  They take long walks along the shoreline at sunset, or sit on the beach together, gazing out at the horizon while sharing their dreams of the future.   Nearby Rainbow Haven Beach attracts numerous singles seeking summer romance .  Glowing with suntan lotion, they bask in the sun while non-chalantly checking one another out from behind their fashionable sunglasses.

The shore and its pounding waves are sometimes employed by poets as a metaphor for the coming together of lovers.  One waits patiently for the other to arrive at long last from afar.

shore

But what happens when love dies and couples who walked together so often hand in hand along the sand must now walk alone?  If love can begin at the beach, could it not end there as well?

This week I found not only one, but several yellow long-stemmed roses tangled in the seaweed on the shore.  Although they were a bit frazzled by the elements, they still looked fairly fresh.

yellow rose

In the language of flowers, yellow roses symbolize the end of a love affair.  Could someone have been given a bouquet of yellow roses at the beach?  And could these have then been abandoned on the shore or thrown into the sea?  We’ll never know.

yellow rose 2

Strange how my heart beats
To find myself upon your shore.
Strange how I still feel
My loss of comfort gone before.
Cool waves wash over
And drift away with dreams of youth.
So time is stolen
I cannot hold you long enough.

~ Enya

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I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.
~ Pablo Neruda

cherry blossom branchSpring changes everything.  Trees blossom to life, flowers push out of the cold, damp ground and animals get busy finding mates and making preparations for the next generation.  Even our bodies seem more at ease after rigidly holding up our shoulders  during the cold winter months.

We’re changed internally too.  We feel lighter, and not just from shedding extra layers of clothes.  We have more energy to clean the cobwebs out of the corners of our homes and minds; we’re eager to spend more time outdoors and cheerfully look forward to warmer days ahead.  Spring is in the air and we’re transformed. 

For many, love is also in the air.  This week I’ve been working on a wedding invitation design for a friend who’s getting married later this summer.  Along with a Celtic knot, the design incorporates a phrase chosen by him and his fiancée that speaks of the transformational effect of love…

celticknot

Like spring, love awakens that which is lying dormant within us and beckons us to be transformed.    There is a call to action and growth… a moving up and forward into the future while also giving us enjoyment in the present moment.  This is what the tree buds and our winter-weary hearts have been waiting for.   Ahh… spring!

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