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Posts Tagged ‘Seashore’

dawn july 9 2013

Summer seems to take forever to arrive to this part of the world.  Sometimes love can feel like that too.  Despite the long anticipation, we often feel unprepared for its arrival.

This past week’s heat wave was overwhelming but it’s hard to complain after such a long wait.   The best we can do is embrace its offerings and enjoy each caress of summer warmth on our limbs.

The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.
~ Sitting Bull

pink peony

Peonies in the garden open their inner hearts gladly.  How many of us dare to open our hearts so courageously to love?  The combination of warm rains and sparkling sunshine has increased the size and number of their blooms.  For some the abundance is a burden that can only be carried so long.  How easily we too can flounder under the weight of  all the responsibilities that accompany love.

peonies falling over

Wild Ragged Robin flowers seem to have a more modest response.  Their delicate petals stretch out in the sun as if to say ‘Here I am World.  Take me as I am.’  Perhaps the happiest souls among us are those who simply feel loved for themselves, just as they are.

pink ragged robin

On the seashore, wet purplish-pink Irish Moss sparkles in the sunshine.  If we are loved consistently and unconditionally, do we not begin to reflect love in the same way?

pink irish moss on shore

Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons for coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you.
~ Kent Nerburn

new growth on partridgeberry bush

In the back woods, new pink growth emerges from a partridgeberry bush, ravaged by hungry wildlife earlier this spring.  Where there’s sunshine and warm rain, there’s the promise of an abundant harvest once the summer’s past.  Perhaps the greatest comfort of love’s embrace is hope for the future.

Text and photographs Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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soft morning light on seagrass

Behind the shore, where the dune grass grows, that’s where we’re walking today.  The sun is burning off the rest of the morning’s fog and the grass sparkles where its rays manage to shine through holes in the mist.  The golden grass is dried and brittle in springtime.  I can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since I first felt it beneath my feet.

sand dune haven

We’ve come to this place so many times, you and I, looking for fox paths and ant hills in the sand. We sit in the same spot and together we look out to the ocean.  I dream of African shores with hot sparkling sand across the Atlantic while you ask one more time if it’s still too cold to go in the water.  What three year old doesn’t come to the beach with a plan to enjoy at least one quick splash in the waves?

The golden grass and the color of your hair remind me how much you’ve tamed me these past few years.  All these twenty five years, the dune grass has been of no use to me.  Until now.

hair the color of dried grass

Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold.  Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!  The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.  And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .
~ The Fox to The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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Come down to the sea and take your imagination with you.  Never mind the rain and don’t distract yourself with the usual finds of beachcombers:  broken lobster traps, lone sandals, bottles, cans and driftwood.  Sometimes the stormy seas bring something far more wondrous to our shores.

Of course, it’s not every day you get to see a mermaid.  Such enchanting encounters occur so rarely that it’s difficult to know what to do when you do at last catch sight of one on the shore.

You wouldn’t want to get too close.  Only half human, the wild part of their nature would likely make them quite skittish and easy to scare back into the water.  It’s best to keep a safe distance for both your sakes.  After all, mermaids have been known to lure humans unwittingly into the depths of the sea, never to return again.  Even Blackbeard the pirate feared their charms and kept his ship away from waters where they had been sighted.

Mermaids likely visited Nova Scotia’s shores long before Europeans settled here.  Thrown off course by strong currents during storms, there’s little record of their short stays on our beaches.

They linger only long enough to re-arrange their hair, untangle the seaweed from their tails and sing a haunting song or two before returning to their homes in the deep.

Though this one’s fingers weren’t webbed and she wasn’t sitting on ‘the mermaid stone’ (perhaps the algae made it too slippery this time of year), she was genuinely enchanting.

When will she return?  Mermaid visits are as unpredictable as the weather here in Nova Scotia.  One can only hope it will be soon.

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

For more on mermaids, see Where Mermaids Arrange their Hair and Calling All Mermaids.

 

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When you walk in the woods, do you see the forest or the trees?  Do your eyes come to rest on the bark of the closest  trunk or is your vision focused on the woods behind it?

Similarly, when you’re walking on the beach, are your eyes scanning the shore for a special shell,  a heart shaped stone or a bottle with a message in it, or are you gazing at the horizon line?

It’s easier to focus on the trees nearby if the path ahead is tangled with vegetation.  The possibility of ticks in the grass or mosquitoes lurking in the deeper woods may prompt you to take a closer look at the soft new growth on the branches  within your grasp.

If the path ahead appears clear and bright, you may be more inclined to venture into the forest.

At home or at work, I often find myself caught up in the details in my surroundings.  My eyes dart quickly back and forth looking to re-arrange or make right whatever seems out of place.  However, when daily life sometimes becomes cluttered, as the beach is with seaweed after a storm…

I lift up my eyes to focus on what’s ahead.  (One of these days I’m sure I’m going to see a mermaid sitting on top of that big stone).

Our ability to shift our focus is a gift that allows us to be happy in any circumstance.  All that’s required from us is a willingness to refocus our attention, perhaps for just a moment, before getting back to the task at hand.

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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The mermaid stone hasn’t seen much action these days.  With surfers riding the waves in recent years and more dogs running along the beaches, it’s no wonder that mermaids are going elsewhere to gather their thoughts at dawn and dusk.

 I, for one, would love to catch a glimpse of a siren arranging her hair while singing a haunting melody.  Even one of the mermaids’ legged cousins, the sea nymphs, would be a delight to find strolling along our shores, gathering shells.

mermaid stone
Sadly, rockweed is all that’s covering the mermaid stone these days.

 Maybe it’s all the garbage that’s dumped near our shores that’s putting them off.  Or perhaps they don’t bother visiting Cow Bay because there are fewer and fewer shells to find here.  The ones that do wash up on our beaches are quickly gathered by tourists and local beachcombers like me.

Sea Nymph by William Symonds

Sea Nymph by William Symonds 1893

 We don’t pause to consider that seashells and sea glass are the only adornments mermaids and sea nymphs have available to them when the seaside flowers aren’t in bloom. 

There are probably uninhabited islands not far from here where mermaids don’t have to compete with anyone for the treasures that wash ashore.  Seals are likely less intimidating than dogs from their point of view as well. 

I’m going to start leaving the seashells where I find them on the shore instead of taking them home.   If I take anything back from the beach, it will be the garbage I find there.  It’s not much, but it’s a first step in attracting these wondrous creatures back to our shores. 

I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

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stone beach

Finding the ideal love is like trying to find a perfectly symmetrical stone on the beach.  It’s not easy.  Even with so many possibilities, the task is more difficult than one would imagine.  And the longer you look, the slimmer the odds of finding that perfect specimen may seem.  Though some might appear somewhat perfect at a distance, upon closer inspection, it soon becomes apparent that they are not quite so.

That’s not to say that it’s downright impossible to find perfect specimens. They are indeed out there, but be forewarned that many years may pass between one discovery and the next.

circular stones

Whether or not we realize it, we also search for physical symmetry in other human beings. Characteristic of good genes and general good health in nature, perfect symmetry in a mate would likely increase one’s chances of creating healthy offspring.  No wonder we’re so drawn to people with beautifully symmetrical faces.

And yet, there is a certain charm and character attributable to the not-so-symmetrical. With perhaps an even stronger  magnetism, especially where romantic love is concerned, we are drawn towards the imperfect.  Why? One theory suggests that while our minds are pleasantly calmed by symmetry, they also quickly become bored with it.  Intrigued by complexity, when faced with marginally flawed symmetry, our minds are perked and subconsciously go to work to try and figure out what’s causing the disparity.

Although the human body is symmetrical in so many ways, the shape of the human heart is not.   Could that be a clue that perfection in matters of the heart was created to be elusive?   If we are to achieve any semblance of perfection in love, like the rare round stones found sometimes on the beach, it’s only due to years of surviving the pounding waves and stormy seas.  Now there’s something to ponder as we approach Valentine’s Day.

Text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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