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Waves of Grace

Sunday, February 20, 2011

 We were the only people in sight on the Canaveral beach in late January. Just like we like our beaches. Not that we see many, being Ohioans.

The kids had to get their feet wet. I knew they'd get their jeans wet, too, but there was no fighting it. We'd deal with the sand and the dampness later.

It wasn't really beach weather, as evidenced by the windbreakers and sweatshirts, but when would we have another chance to be in the ocean?

 I left them to play with about a dozen parental warnings about riptides and rogue waves, trusting their hydrophobic anthropoid instincts to carry them through. They're careful kids. I walked and felt the foam with my toes, walked and felt the sand with my tired feet, studied my prints and made some more.

We made two visits to the beach at Cape Canaveral. The second time, they wore bathing suits under their shorts.

What is it about the ocean that can soothe us and make us delight in just being there, being alive, walking and thinking about nothing and everything at once?

Is it the rush of the ocean mother's heartbeat in our chests and ears? Is it the half-remembered origin of life coming to the fore? I watched my children walk and talk, knowing that before long the leggy blonde boy would tower over his statuesque sister.

Neither of them believes me when I say that.

For now, Phoebe is content to let her brother crack her up as he meets the ocean in a power-slide.

She turns to laugh with me as, caught clowning and off guard, he tumbles down...

and then, being Phoebe, helps him back up.

 He adores her, shadows her every move for five days and nights, and she is almost always kind to him.
She was 3 1/2 when he came into the world, and it was clear she was ready to care for someone else. I'll always be grateful that they get along so well.

I watch them as the brown pelicans glide by.  I am never without something beautiful to watch.

I want to paint the perfection of this young pelican in watercolors; I know just which colors I'd choose.
I mix them in the mind's palette.

Thank you for your perfect wing, your unfathomable ghastly grace; your flat doll's eye and impossible bill.

You surf the waves with a few dynamic flaps and endless sails, riding on a pillow of air just over the water's surface.

 When I was a child moving into my teens I felt awkward and ungainly, and I wondered why I had been born in the body of such a homely primate. I wanted to be a deer, an antelope, an eagle. I despaired at the clumsiness of my species. I was blind to my own lithe grace.

 Having children disabused me of that notion; it opened me to the loveliness of my own kind. My own grace has faded, but I've caught lightning here in these slender vessels, and I gaze at it, newly fascinated.

 The sun catches their hair and strokes their lean forms and I catch my breath and hold it.

I thank the sea for giving us a taste of the carefree ease of summer, and wish the sun would hang low in the sky for a few more hours. I don't want to go back to the hotel; I don't want to go back to gray flannel Ohio. I want to stay with my beautiful ones in this timewarp, the turquoise sea rushing around us, cancelling noise, soothing us into reflection and meditation.


Julie, you squeezed my heart this morning.

Your own grace is doing just fine.

And thank you to the anonymous author of the sedimental inscription ... it littoraly made me smile.

"Ghastly grace" is a beautiful turn of phrase. Thank you for this.

Very your words and the colors. The song "Beyond the Blue Horizon" should be playing.

I love the description "Flannel gray Ohio". lovely you had this time, and how wonderfully you've captured the moment. Your descendants will be blessed for eons!

You certainly know how to get me reaching for a Kleenex. I wish I was there, in Florida, in January.

Sometimes when I read your words I can hardly breathe as I wait for the next ones. I'm feeling a little "emo" today as the kids would say as I am looking forward to my trip to Florida in 5 days. You so beautifully captured the essence of what I feel when I see the ocean after a long separation. This is the first time you've ever brought me to tears. Darn ya!

"Seeing" our country through another's eyes and words makes us appreciate what we've got. I'm sure the wonders of the Ohio woods would affect us Floridians the same way.

just too TOO beautiful...

...and how you come up with a phrase like "unfathomable ghastly grace" I can't even imagine; you must be channeling Thoreau... or, more likely angels.

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Phoebe running flat out reminded me of the week after my father was killed and my niece and nephew almost lost their mom. After several days, of intensive care, when the children were not allowed to see her, I got to take them to visit her. Then I took them to the beach where I watched the healing process begin as they ran like crazy. I thought it was joy in motion.

Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I, too, have kids 3.5 years apart in age, and your words helped me see how beautiful they are together. Thanks for the inspiration and the beauty!

Stunning, stunning, post - written with equally "unfathomable, ghastly grace" - full of sheer beauty at every turn. That gazelle running in the surf just grabs my breath and holds it.

Crying. To catch lightning - I'm not sure I've ever heard parenting captured more beautifully. xo

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