For many years now, I have gone out of my way to find a body of water to stare at. Since moving to the beach, I only have to take a short walk through coastal pines and windswept dunes to enjoy this practice. Still, there are times when I seek out less ferocious waters–a bay or a lagoon perhaps. Sometimes, a drop of water on a flower petal is enough to inspire wonder.
The Pacific Ocean, though, has that special power of the sublime. It reaches into me and touches on some sense of fear just as much as it creates awe. There are days when standing too close to the surf makes my heart race. Those moments bring me face to face with my mortality. How easily the sea could swallow my tiny speck of life.
Still, it is undeniably beautiful, ever-changing, and soothing to the ear. Opening a window at a certain time of day invites the sea in. To me, it smells crisp like cucumbers.There’s something about that sea breeze. We’ve known this throughout human history.
When the wind is just right, I can smell the coastal pines. They are sweeter than the sea. I’m particularly fond of walking through the pines near Beard’s Hollow. I crouch down to peek at the thick mossy beds and smudges of sunlight–when there is sun.
Bringing your nose closer to something small is quiet pleasure. I watched a spider floating on its web the other day. It chose a lovely shrub-like plant with bright, bulbous, gold flowers. If I were a spider, I think I would choose such places to string my silk ropes.
I have a restless spirit, so I blew a sharp breath at this spider to make it move. It stretched its legs quite lazily to my disappointment. I moved on.
When you take the time for noticing, the world will reward you with vivid details. I think it is important to seek these moments as a writer. It informs your craft. It inspires your stories. It gives you time to breathe. But I am a Romantic.
I don’t always move slowly enough for this noticing. I like to ramble, too. The sensation of wind, the crunch of my footsteps, the fast surprises of peering into the woods at a turn–these are treasures as well. I try to remember the feel of everything. I try to think of how I would translate these moments into language.