A Year by the Sea

Animals may aid us in our everyday lives, in our dreams, meditations. Since they were created before humans, they are closer to THE SOURCE and can act as allies, guides and familiars in our search for wholeness. —An Inuit woman I

As a young bride I sent my parents letters filled with lies, wanting to convince not only them, but myself, that I was happy. It occurs to me that I will continue to know my children less if they think I want them to be more. Seeking perfection is a terrible thing when it robs you of truth. I wonder if role-playing and being careful are the chief causes of loneliness.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers. —Rainer Maria Rilke, LETTER TO A YOUNG POET T

giving him a tide clock instead of the proverbial watch men are so often given at retirement. We

Good things seem just to happen along. The state of feeling satisfied occurs most often when I haven’t sought it.

I have learned to pay attention to my instincts and take notice when I feel anxious—to remove the pebble from my shoe before it blisters, get the chicken bone out of my throat—in short, to be mindful of feelings and emotions and work with them, not run from them.

Instead, I mind my own business, speak when I’m spoken to, cut their fish, and pretend to like serving them. My

I sing along, uplifted by the words, reminded of the way my favorite minister taught me how to pray, or rather, yield my thoughts: “Offer praise first,” she said, “then thanksgiving. Follow it with petition, asking for your need to be met, and then conclude by relinquishing control.” I find that once I do the first part, the reason for my prayer usually diminishes.

I steady my nerves, knowing the moment of high tide is just that, a brief time that will always reverse itself and diminish.

I think it was Picasso who said he spent the first half of his life becoming an adult and the last half learning to be a child.

I think it was Thomas Merton who said that the easiest way to rid yourself of neurosis is to surround yourself with nature, or more specifically trees.

It occurs to me that being in the fog does not have to mean being altogether lost.

I tune the radio to a classical station playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, music I used to run to, a good omen, as I am running to a new life. I once heard that Olympic coaches play baroque music in the locker room before big meets to quell their athletes’ anxiety. I take a deep breath and wish for such a calm to overtake me. Still,

I’ve come to believe that love happens when you want it to. It is an intention, rather than a serendipitous occurrence. Only when one is open to receive and absorb love can it occur.

Once they gave me an Emerson quote about success, reading it aloud, flattering me by saying that it seemed to have been written about me. “Successful people live well, laugh often, and love much. They’ve filled a niche and accomplished tasks so as to leave the world better than they found it, while looking for the best in others and giving the best they have.

On stormy days, when the boat traffic was light, we would slip off our bathing suits and skinny-dip, letting the rush of water and sea lettuce caress our bodies. Our glee was punctuated with high-pitched squeals as one or the other hit a cold spot or chanced a foot on the sandy bottom, where crabs lay in wait to nibble on our toes. We

Real connection seems to happen that way—two like-minded souls meet and sniff around one another like puppy dogs, then whoosh, a moment of fission occurs, pleasantries are dropped, closely twined feelings surface, and a relationship is born.


Sitting here alone is satisfying enough, but the night would be far better if shared with another—with someone whose mood meets mine, who relishes moments, whose wonder remains untainted, who appreciates simple things and says so, who laughs much, indulges heartily, is spontaneous in spirit, is quick to embrace, and sees joy as a duty! Oh,

They aren’t afraid to fail, which they frequently do.

They carry one brand of most everything, not twenty, making it simple to choose. Nothing is complicated or fancy here, just practical and friendly. This is a place to linger, a microcosm of a small town; in fact, the general store is the town, that and several churches on nearby corners. I’m thinking, as I sit here and drink in the scene, how little it takes to get by, how simple life really can be, how pleasant to think only of necessities, eliminating the luxuries. Just now I recognize that this is everything I want—this is home. The Cape is where I belong, where I must stay.

Today’s adventure taught me how simple it is to be involved and uplifted by nothing more complicated than the unexpected.

too often I’ve used up precious time preparing for experiences rather than just having them.

We cannot write in water … we cannot carve in water. Water’s nature is to flow and that is how we should treat life … emotion, negative or positive. Do not deny it but always let it flow through and then away. —Anonymous D


When one is freshly informed, has a serendipitous experience, one’s mood is changed, one’s heart is changed. That is why taking time to see, hear, be present to images and language that arise from new experiences have the power to change one from one way to another. —Clarissa Pinkola Estés, WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES I

When will I ever learn to accept what is given instead of always yearning for more? My lavish expectations too often tarnish my blessings.

When will I ever learn to accept what is given instead of always yearning for more? My lavish expectations too often tarnish my blessings.

Why am I more cautious as I age instead of the other way around? I wonder if it’s all tied in to failure. I tend to forget my gains and remember only the losses. The failures have piled up, wreaking havoc with my confidence until, as an adult, I’ve become afraid to take chances.

Woman must come of age by herself. She must find her true center alone. —Anne Morrow Lindbergh,