The world is full of beautiful places, but for me nothing is more magical than the sea. Going to the beach helps me to find my balance whenever I’ve lost it. Walking along the shoreline, the endless horizon stretched out before me, always fills me with newfound trust, strength, and joy. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why the sea has such healing qualities – even more so than a forest, lake, or mountain top. Perhaps it is something about the coincidence of, not two, but three natural elements, Earth-Water-Sky, that creates a special kind of synergy that you cannot find anywhere else. But the power of the sea becomes even more clear, when you decide to shed your clothes and submerge yourself in the water. Now you are floating, slowly drifting, between the earth and the sky. You don’t have to do anything… just let the salt water wash away your sorrow, as you listen to the calming sound of the rolling waves rushing over the empty seashells. If you’re lucky an inquisitive seal will and come play with you. But you can’t have expectations, because every day is different. Like the water, you too must surrender to the sun and the moon.
After a couple of radiant days of spring, the weather has taken a turn. Stormy winds and downpours of rain that turns into hail whenever it gets the chance. Occasionally the sun comes out, but never for more than fifteen minutes. My shorts and slippers are lying abandoned in the hallway, without purpose or hope. I had big plans for my day off – into the woods, a swim in the sea, lying down on the grass in a city park – relaxing and laughing with friends… Instead we trod through town with soaked jeans, hiding under our hoodies. We stop at our favourite coffee place and sit down on the wooden benches outside. The clouds rush on, allowing a splash of sun that lights up our faces. A flower has fallen, face down, on the dark soaked wood. The radiant colour is enhanced by tiny crystal drops of water, a perfectly shaped carpel in its centre – a miniature universe. As so, as I am raptured by the pureness of this beauty, I realise you don’t have to travel far to find happiness. You only have to open your eyes.
Let’s go on an adventure! To a small island in the northern archipelago, where we can breathe in the endless beauty of the nature reserve, where life moves to the rhythm of the tide, and wading birds welcome you on the stretched out mudflats, where you wake up at dawn to the smell of dewy grass, go for an early morning swim to wash away your haunting dreams, lay down on marram-covered sand hills, let the sun warm your skin and the sound of the sea shells playing in the waves tells you it’s time to sleep, until the wind invites you to cycle along the coast to the pier and find an enchanted place on the top of the woods, where you can sit down carelessly under the pine trees to have a sweet picnic of fresh greens and do Nothing, follow the dancing butterflies, get lost on the heath, stumble upon a marsh harrier dozing off in the shimmering sunset, play hide-and-seek in the crescent-shaped dunes, and watch the dazzling stars shoot through the sky until you can no longer remember where you end and the universe begins.
On days I feel lost in this world, I always return to the beach. On my way there I noticed something resembling an umbrella leaning against the bus stop: a wooden stick, just standing there casually as though it’s a perfectly normal place for it to be, waiting for me. “A stick?” you say. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I have come to appreciate the value of branches and secondly, it was a particularly nice one, mind you – weathered driftwood curved in the shape of a sword. I brought my treasure with me to the seaside. There I breathed in the fresh night air as the last of the sunset lingered fiercely red above the mystical, dark water. Skipping barefoot through the thundering waves, finding as always that when you can reach out and touch the horizon, everything falls into place, I came upon orange roses that someone had left there for me to find. I stopped picking flowers years ago, once I learned that loving something means letting it live, but to receive such an unexpected gift filled up the empty spaces in my heart.
What I love most about the beach is that not one day is the same. You think you know what your walk will bring, the breaking waves rushing in, the salted wind playing with your hair, the gulls flying high above you, but then you arrive and all your expectations are blown away, and you can no longer hear the questions and doubts that pierce your existence. Everything you thought you knew… about life, about love… disappears. And it is just you and the universe. And you feel that every day is a new beginning.