c o n t e m p l a t i o n s a n d i n s p i r a t i o n s o f a n a r t i s a n j e w e l r y d e s i g n e r

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why do we love the beach?

I am fortunate to have spent the last week on a serene and beautiful beach in South Carolina.  It is my family's 14th year visiting this particular beach.  We stay in a lovely beachy house, directly on the beach separated from the surf only by natural dunes.  This is not a very populated beach and when the tide is out it is wide and flat.  The sand is fine and the surf is warm and gentle.

The minute I arrive I feel a relaxation come over me.  And every year I find myself wondering - what is it about the beach that is so compelling?  Why is it that just standing on the water's edge, gazing out to the horizon, is so renewing?  

I have heard that the percentage of salt in the ocean is exactly the same as the percentage of salt in our blood.  I wonder if there is some primordial draw to the ocean.  An evolutionary memory?  It is also a uniquely broad expanse of space.  There aren't too many other places on the globe where we can feel so connected to the vastness of nature - a similar feeling to a wide, clear night sky sprinkled with stars, or expansive views from mountain tops.  These are moments when we can gain some perspective and context for our existence in this universe. 

And then there are the mysteries of what exists below the surface.  We collect shells that give us little hints of the life teaming in the sea.  We get excited when we spot porpoises coming up for air as they parallel the shore, when we see schools of fish jumping up from the surface, or watch pelicans skim the surface and then dive for their meal.

The lighting at different times of day is another fascination for me - the silvery tones of the early morning, the sharp contrasts of high noon, and the softness of the evening sky. Water reflecting sky, sometimes the horizon disappears and everything can be seen as a continuum. 

Whatever it is - the freedom and renewal, the relaxation and contemplation, bare feet and minimal clothing - for me, the week at the beach is a pilgrimage.  A pilgrimage to beauty, nature and peacefulness.

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