Monday, September 22, 2008

Spontaneous celebration

Before I go any further in this post, I need to tell you that the name is borrowed from a wonderful creative space in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Spontaneous Celebrations is a multicultural home for art and creativity. Check it out.

My own spontaneous celebration happened this weekend. I believe it's important to live big, but know it's hard to do so; this weekend was a good example of the weekend conspiring to help me. I've blogged about the food part in cook pot stories.

While many wonderful things happened this weekend (time with many friends, the zoo with a 19 month old, cooking great food) what I really want to tell you about is the ocean. You know, those vast bodies of water that border our east, south and west here in the United States.

On Sunday I woke up with an itch, a drive, an ache to go to the ocean. I wasn't sure why, but it felt primal in its intensity. I needed to hear the waves, see the broad light and horizon, feel the cold water pull and tug at my legs, taste the salt. By mid-afternoon I was driving around the northern coast of Massachusetts trying to find the sea. An easy task, you'd think, but without a map at hand and clear signs saying, "Ocean, this way," it took me awhile.

I followed the light.

I knew Ipswich was on the ocean, so once I was there I looked for the lightening of the sky, the sign that told me, far more clearly than any writing, that I was heading east.

I found my way to Crane Beach. Oh, how lovely. I'm sorry I didn't have my camera so I could share it with you visually, you'll have to make do with words. I won't bother telling you about the long stretches of sand and dune, you've seen those or can imagine them.

Here is what you need to know:
  • Clusters of clamshells, moonwhite and glowing.
  • The sound of the waves echoing the sound of my heart, over and over and over. And the comfort that this sound will continue long after I am gone.
  • A long dead Christmas tree, propped up in the sand, adorned with seaweed garland and shell baubles.
  • Wary gulls watching all the people, fluffed up and smug in the breeze.
  • The ocean, rushing up to soak my rolled-up jeans. Laughing at me, trying to stay dry.
  • The taste of salt on my lips, splashed there by waves and my hands alike. The salt in my blood remembers where I come from.
As I was walking I found myself smiling then wondering why I was compelled to come to the sea on this day.

Then I remembered - September 21. The equinox. Of course I needed to be in this liminal place, the meeting of land and sea, two worlds, as the world was shifting from light into darkness. My body and heart remembered what my head had forgotten. As soon as I remembered the date, the place of the earth in the cosmos and the shift of the seasons, I began to laugh, I spun around splashing and flung my arms up to welcome the world in. It felt like a kind of homecoming.

The smell of the sea is still in my head, the play of the light on water lingers in my eyes.

Happy Equinox. May your celebrations be lasting and fulfilling.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer
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1 comment:

  1. Crane Beach is a childhood favorite along with all those tidepool places where I could touch ocean life and critters could squirm against me.


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