Last night we dropped our son off at his event, then drove fifteen minutes to the beach. We walked out to the edge of the ocean and sat on the sand. Others walked or jogged by, their long shadows across the sand, but it was our evening to sit. To sit and watch the waves, a couple of surfers, the couple with their little dog who wore a bib, "Adopt me," the sun drop lower in the sky.
I listened, attempting to put the sound of the waves into letters. It was as if the ocean was breathing. The waves broke on the sand with an exhale, "Wwhhrshsh."
The waves, pulled back out to sea with an inhale, a whistle, like someone softly snoring, "Sssfftt."
Rhythm. Consistent breathing, in, out, in, out. Motion, a reliable pattern. A painting or a photo of the ocean is only one tiny time slot, a small still life of the perpetual energy, always changing, alive. I could sit for hours, listening to the slow breath of the ocean against the shore, the rhythm as it exhales, then inhales.
The real purpose of going to the beach was to pick up a jar of sand. (Well, my purpose is always to watch the waves, to listen, to enjoy the feel of the wind and smell the salt in the air.) Our son is getting married this weekend in Arizona. We will drive there, taking sand from the Pacific Ocean. His fiancee's mom flew in from Houston,Texas, where she grew up, with a jar of sand from the Gulf. As part of the ceremony, they will combine the sands, west coast and southeast, symbolizing the joining of their past and combined lives. A symbol of the rhythm of life, the breath of their new married life, together.