10 May 2013
You have difficulty writing in the actual morning, and I find myself overstepping into the midnight hours. How quaint the month is starting out to be, for both of us.
I’ve already told you this earlier, but the parcel you sent is the best thing that has happened to me in weeks. Already I am planning what to send you back. Let me know what you like. Jasmine tea? Dried mangoes? I think I can fit those in an envelope.
I am over the moon. I’ve been doing so much physical work lately, that my pleasures have become immediate, and fleeting, and physical: putting my feet up, wind in my hair, a cold shower. Your letter and your gifts have settled deeper under my skin, making me feel warm, and held, and loved.
Intermittency–an impossible lesson for human beings to learn. How can one learn to live through the ebb-tides of one’s existence? How can one learn to take the trough of the wave? It is easier to understand here on the beach, where the breathlessly still ebb-tides reveal another life below the level which mortals usually reach. In this crystalline moment of suspense, one has a sudden revelation of the secret kingdom at the bottom of the sea. Here in the shallow flats one finds, wading through warm ripples, great horse-conchs and myriads of bright-colored cochina-clams, glistening in the foam, their shells opening and shutting like butterflies’ wings. So beautiful is the still hour of the sea’s withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea’s return when the encroaching waves pound up the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.
Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea (excerpt), from Cries of the Spirit (edited by Marilyn Sewell)
Goodnight, my dear.