This time of year and for a few more months, the beach becomes one of those thin places for me − you know, the kind of place where the membrane separating Heaven and earth is so thin you could almost poke your finger through to the other side. The relationship between sea and sky becomes so clear when there are no distractions (like a cluttered beach-full of vacationers); and the rhythm of the tide renders a timepiece counter to the watches of busy humans.
This morning at 5:15, high tide is approaching. I lean over the edge of the balcony as far as I can to poke my finger through that micro-thin membrane…
Above, the stars are like fine silver glitter; below, broken lines of foamy white rush inward. Straight ahead, there is no line indicating the horizon; the sea and the sky are one in the darkness − a pre-dawn moment of neither morning nor night. The sound of the surf is a gentle presence, a voice inviting me to just be still for a while and not think about anything but breathing, watching, and hearing; and I willingly accept the invitation for as long as it lasts.
The moment is found poetry.
Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.
−Mary Oliver, Sometimes
By 7:30 a.m. the sky is fully lit. A few dolphins are breaking the surface of the water. I take my dog for a walk on the beach before getting on with the day’s tasks. Although it is the same place I viewed at 5:15 a.m. as I leaned over the edge of the balcony, it seems very ordinary now. The daylight reveals shell-seekers, other dog walkers, and iPod-plugged-in joggers; there is a clear line where the sky meets the ocean toward the east and a string of tall condos and hotels westward. There is nothing really astonishing in view; not like a few hours earlier when the same place pulled me through that thin earth-heaven membrane.
Things change so quickly. The astonishing turns ordinary. We only have rare glimpses and moments of thin places and times in which the only requirement of life is to breathe, watch, and listen.
Wishing you thin places and moments today, friends.