This week, my husband Tim and I are spending a little time on the Oregon coast. Not the most popular time of year to be here, and that’s one of the draws for us. The sea is particularly powerful today. A storm has come in, and the spray coming off the waves is breathtaking, and it’s just the way I like it – moody and beautiful.
As I take my morning walks on the beach here, I am reminded that I am just one small part of a bigger whole, connected to something that is greater than I. It’s like that anytime I feel a sense of awe (for more on awe, read “Why You Need More Awe in your Life“), most notably when out in nature. It’s why nature has such a pull on me.
Humans evolved from the sea, so it’s no wonder people are drawn to it. Our bodies are about 60% percent water, at about the same level of salinity as the ocean. In fact the human brain is about 73% water, not much different than the 71% of the Earth’s surface that is ocean. Clearly there’s a connection that cannot be mistaken, and a good explanation why I find the ocean so healing.
This week was a good time for me to be here. It was the 38th anniversary of my son, Jason’s birth, and the third time celebrating it after losing him in an accident. His loved ones still celebrate it with banana cream pie, which was his birthday pie of choice as a child.
Yesterday, I also received word that a friend had passed away. I met Terri when I moved to a new area as a senior in high school and we remained best friends for 20+ years before we had a falling out. On occasion I would still hear from her, but we never quite reconciled, as our lives had taken quite disparate paths. Her sister contacted me to let me know. Terri had been homeless and the police found her body in an ally early the previous morning. It’s a difficult thing to make sense of.
So, you see, a good week to be here. A good week to walk on the beach as well as the many trails that wind through old growth forests, trees dripping with moss, ground covered with ferns. Because as the great naturalist John Burroughs once said, “I go to nature to be soothed, healed and have my senses put in order.”