03 July 2008

Gift from the Sea

Gift from the Sea, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

“Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“The Beach” ~ chapter 1

When Lesley at “The Bower” said she wanted to do an online book club this summer using the book, “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I knew immediately that I wanted to participate. I first read this book in the early 90’s when my children were still young and I was busy stay at home mother of four, trying to make sense of life. This book gave me hope and helped me find peace within myself in those busy, tumultuous years. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to re-read it from time to time. Each reading brings new insight, new lessons. I hope that you will feel free to join in and share your own insights as well.

AML (Anne Morrow Lindbergh) writes,

“The Beach is not the place to work, to read, write or think. […] Hopefully, one
carries down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long
over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good
intentions.”

I too am a hopeful traveler. Each trip I take, a bag accompanies me of books I’ve wanted to read but haven’t found time for, a couple magazines to peruse, a handwork project, embroidery or knitting ~ sometimes two or three such projects. Inevitably, this bag also contains my “idea book” tucked in with a pencil, and my Rosebud Cottage notebook that goes with me nearly everywhere, also a pouch with my watercolor supplies and a sketchbook and any other things I think I might possibly want on the trip. Often this activity bag ends up heavier than my suitcase.
But as AML writes,

“The books remain unread.” [...] “No reading, no writing, no thoughts even—at
least,
not at first. At first, the tired body takes over completely.
As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against
all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore.”

Isn’t that the way a true vacation goes? I experienced that this past week while visiting my Posie friends. The delight and joy of seeing everyone is exhilarating. But then as we relax into one another’s company, the yawning begins, not that we are at all tired of one another, but that for the first time in weeks or months, we can truly relax, let the hurry and bustle of our everyday lives slip away and our bodies respond by seeking rest and renewal. Together we sit in quiet conversation, some of us fading in and out in a drowsy state. What a blessing to have friendship that allows such deep relaxation.

After a day or two of such rest, then we awake. The true enjoyment of one another’s company kicks in. There are activities, more conversation, meals to prepare and enjoy. The bag of books sits unnoticed by the side of the bed, unmissed. There are new treasures to be found, new pearls of joy to treasure. They will come in their own time.

Gifts from the Sea

On this recent trip, I actually left the majority of my “hopeful bag” at home, this time, hoping to be free of the implied burden of so many things to try and achieve. I did have one book and one magazine for the long airplane rides, both of which I finished on the return journey. I did include my watercolor materials and sketchbook, though they went unused. Creating art, even if it’s just my little watercolor sketches, is best done in solitude, at least for me. When one has only a few short days in which to enjoy the companionship of dear friends, solitude takes a backseat. How nice it was to find that I never missed any of the things I usually pack along!

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