Monday, September 21, 2009

Ebb Tide

I've been thinking about relationships I've known that have weathered tough times and have even thrived after seemingly insurmountable challenges.  Less dramatic, but also difficult, is learning how to see the beauty in the every day, the shifts and rhythms of a relationship during times of abundance as well as times when one feels stripped down to the bone, raw, alone.  This is perhaps a quieter lesson, but it is one that asks for patience, respect, and no small dose of faith.  Expressing this beautifully is the passage below from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea: "Intermittency," she writes, "-- 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 pivoting on a leg; white sand dollars, marble medallions engraved in the mud; 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 a 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."
 I've been rereading this passage off and on all afternoon.  It's low tide now as I type this.  The waves have pulled back to reveal dinner for the seagulls as well as rocks upon which to sit and soak in the last rays of the afternoon sun.  My love sits near me reading a book.  Tonight there will be pasta and candles and the moon and stars.  We will celebrate the equinox and another autumn together as the tide rolls back in toward the shore.


  1. I love this post Gigi - it's so very important to live in the now and enjoy small but wonderful pleasures like sitting quietly together and watching the moon. We spend way too much time chasing the future. Today is where life is! Leigh

  2. today is to be enjoyed as if it were our last. beautiful post, Gigi!!

  3. So much my philosophy of life. One of the many reasons that this is my favourite quotation:
    "A Sense of beauty is the gift of God, for which those who have received it in good measure can never be thankful enough."
    Gertrude Jekyll

  4. A beautiful post and the thought that lifes tides, high and low, gentle or stormy reveal another layer of who we are. The battering can slough off the rough edges and reveal the pearl beneath. Sometimes it hurts though

  5. Gigi,

    I adore every single word you write and all the thoughts you share. It is SO good to be back in your beautiful world of truth and beauty. Thank you my friend for always sharing such magical posts.


  6. Will you please trade lives with me?

    Your words soothe my busy soul! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Gigi,
    I am spellbound by the beauty of your words. How charmingly you live your life, and how fully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. That was beautifully written. Your photos make me so glad that I happen to be vacationing at the ocean this week. I have been married a long time. We were still in college when we married and will celebrate 35 years in a few months. My younger friends ask how we have done it. I always say there were months, maybe years when we didn't like each other all that much...but, we respected and loved each other always. You have to learn to ride out the storms instead of jumping ship.

    I really enjoyed reading this tonight.


  9. Just beautiful Gigi, you have such a way with words. Reminding one to live in the moments.

  10. Such a beautiful, thoughtful post, much a gift form the sea as the sea herself and Anne Morrow Lingbergh. :o) Now is all we have. We only get this one particular trip is mean to be savored, it is precious, and so are our relationship. Nurturing a relationship, even a difficult one, brings surprises.((HUGS))

  11. Inspiring Gigi!
    So beautifully written...
    love; 'rumpled chains of seaweed'!!!
    ...could somehow smell the ocean breeze!
    ('s perhaps I'm on an island by the beach right now ~hahaha...)

    ~xo as always

  12. Thanks for the lovely comments, friends! I was so inspired by Anne Morrow Lindbergh's words that I had to share them. As I type this comment now, the tide is actually quite high and the waves are getting bigger by the moment. Should be a bit of a stormy night!

    xoxo Gigi

  13. Oh Gigi, what beautiful sentiments and thoughts.It's a very simple philosophy, not always easy for people to follow. I hope that you will keep on living and thinking along the same lines forever. XXXX

  14. These photos beautifully illustrate this passage from "The Gift From the Sea"...I bought that book long ago, intending to give it to a friend as a gift...I started reading it and it has never left my bedside. I think I will re-read it this week...

  15. breathtakingly beautiful dear gigi ~ absolutely breathtaking... thank you for sharing anne's words ~ pulling us in and having us feel vividly the very moment she was experiencing ... "each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid" ... and then your words flowed so wonderfully after hers ... a continuation of the waves ... many more happy, shoreline autumnal equinox celebrations to you and your dear one ~
    praireigirl xo
    (sorry to be such a 'phantom girl' lately ~ happy to be visiting again and thank you for always leaving such heart skipping comments!)


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