Ocean View to Porch View: Everyday Magic, Day 868

Yesterday morning, I walked acrosIMG_1758s the narrow beach into the ocean, dipping my toes into the cold Maine waters until, scared and hesitant, I dropped in and swam like crazy to warm up until the sea carried me with ease.

This morning, I walked to my front porch, put my feet up, and stared into the Osage Orange tree and other things in my view, like my car that got strangely covered with bird poop while I was away. I let the chartreuse padded rocker (found years ago in a small-town Kansas thrift store) carry me into quiet.

In between, there were airports, a very strong cup of iced coffee, a narrow plane seat 30,000 feet off the earth with a view of the Jersey island (Long Beach Island) where I fretted as a teen, and IMG_1813surrealist naps between the captain’s garbled announcements. There was the ride to the Portland Jetway with an old friend/ Goddard student who shared the moving, drastic, and ultimate healing story of losing his home to a fire. There was a lobster roll and very salty potato chips at one airport, and a Philly pretzel at the other. There was the baggage carousel with finally Jerry’s suitcase to grab, the luggage left to me by my dearly-departed friend who still travels with me. There was Ken late at night and the beautiful and car-fumed air of the home airport, then the ride where as usual, I alternated between talking at high speed and staring into the blur of familiar highway sites. Then there was the house waiting for me, complete with cat vomit in the entry way, a very happy dog, my beautiful sons, a clean kitchen counter, and a whole lot of mail.

Balanced precariously on the ledge of these merging views, I recover from close to two weeks away and all the beauty and exhaustion that filled that time. I run to the garden in the morning in my nightgown to graze on tomatoes and consider what to plant for a fall garden. I nap deeply for hours, then find out it was just 10 minutes. I plant a big dinner while watching the many hummingbirds from this porch, then decide yogurt and fruit is best.

The view behind, the view ahead, and the view now hangs mysteriously together when I see a fast orange butterfly reminding me that just yesterday how a bunch of us in the ocean pointed up and laughed when we saw a black butterfly. Motion links us.

I’m in Love with the Ocean: Everyday Magic, Day 451

At home in Kansas, I don’t think about the ocean much although I was born only a few blocks away near Coney Island in Brooklyn, and although I grew up in places only a short drive inland. The ocean is there, I’m here, and I’m so in love with the prairie and especially the big and wild-weathered sky that my heart is full.

But sitting right now in my bathrobe on this small balcony attached to our room on the ship, I’m immersed in big-horizon happiness. The beauty of the ocean when it surrounds you — something I never experienced until now — is unlike anything else, the rolling skin of water carrying us as the wind topples crests from blue to white in the distance.

Of course, it’s tricky to adjust to, and last night, when the ship picked up speed, I felt like I was drunk (I don’t drink, but I remember), rollicking down the hallways, and having to grab onto my mother a few times so I didn’t fall. My head was swimming, which I guess is appropriate, and all of us were alternately dizzy, punchy, nauseous and thrilled, but it did make being upright a challenge.

Last night, standing on the balcony as sheer clouds, open sky and a moon waxing toward half, I started crying. “It’s so beautiful,” I kept thinking and even said out loud. Later, Natalie came out to the balcony, and she started crying too. The depth of the beauty reminded me of that scene in the film Contact when Jodi Foster’s character lands on another place until twin suns, and her scientist-self-protected-hardness melts away as she cries in joy. I didn’t need to go into space for this, however, just out to sea. It’s so gorgeous, I feel some primal urge to jump in, but quickly remind myself, “No, you will die if you do that, and you want to live.” I do, but there’s something about the ocean that makes you want to join it.

Meanwhile, the little waves the ships makes break below me, the sky clears to the west, clouds shifting north and south. Meanwhile, room service has arrived, a great luxury (and something I’ve hardly ever done before because of the expenses, but such things are included on cruises like this), and I sip coffee, getting ready to eat some fresh fruit. Meanwhile, we are carried along, rocked gently, south where we’l spend the afternoon and evening in Nassau, and I’ll get the chance to merge with the ocean when we go to the beach.

I wish this kind of beauty and peace, so wide and deep, for all of you wherever you are, and of course, I also wish for everyone to get to experience living on the sea for at least a few days.