It’s the sound. That low hush you hear with your diaphragm rather than your ears.
All night it accompanies your sleep and your waking moments; wild, slightly menacing, yet reassuring. All day it is there, bracing you against the world.
If you turn a corner and get cut off from the sound, the world suddenly tilts, the air clarifying like oil cleared with a drop of vinegar. Everything seems louder, harsher, more obtrusive.The sound of the waves breaking is a steadying hand, holding you safe and secure. Suddenly without it, you feel vulnerable, about to fall.
The beach at dawn is a secret, special place. Rose hints in the sky reflect in wet sand. It’s as if you stand on mirrored glass, not sure whether you are reality or reflection.
Breakers curl and smoke, peeling parallel to the shore, the spray reaching as high as each wave is deep. Lace frills the edge of the land where herring gulls hop and prod, flipping over tiny shells that cling to the beach and leave zigzag wakes as the water leaves.
There’s something about being beside the sea that speaks to our primeval soul. Perhaps it’s the sea itself resonating with the water moulding our bodies; perhaps it’s ancestral memories from when we were all marine creatures before we began running on the plains.
Maybe it’s just living on an island, knowing without thinking that the sea cradles us all around like cupped hands.
The air is sweeter, the light clearer: And the sound of the waves breaking steadies our souls.