Thursday, May 1, 2014

What I'm reading . . .

I remember reading Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh many, many years ago and enjoying it, so when my friend Laura began reading it, I ordered the book and am reading along with her.

The first chapter barely fills two pages, but its words strike a chord.

She’s on Captiva Island in Florida, alone on vacation for two weeks. She says the mind “begins to drift, to play, to turn over . . . like those lazy waves on the beach.” She talks of “chance treasures” the waves might bring in and warns not to be “too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient” for those treasures. “Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches.”

I think of my photo of a starfish that a large wave washed in. Patiently waiting in the sand for a wave to take it back out, it leaves slight indentations below and around it, showing us how it has moved softly in concert with smaller, less powerful waves.

And, in time, the starfish will slowly be washed back to its original habitat, will affix itself to one boulder or another, awaiting whatever new adventure the next strong wave may provide.

For me, this chapter encourages me to slow down, to let things come to me of their own accord rather than me impatiently rummaging about, digging in the sand. And could it apply to creating photomontages? To perhaps not force them so much?

And it reminds me of a morning I spent on Sanibel Island, right next to Captiva. The sun hadn’t come up yet, but there was a veritable parade of shell-seekers moving past, some with flashlights strapped to their heads, the better to find, spot, and secure treasures before others snapped them up.

This seemingly peaceful activity — beachcombing — had an undercurrent of anxiety, urgency, and acquisition — completely the opposite of what Ms. Lindbergh writes about. I look back on this memory with a certain amount of humor and a certain amount of sadness — but mostly humor. I mean, really? Headlamps?

©Carol Leigh 

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