My ocean is the sunny Southern California, happy-family-on-an-outing, surfing kind. It does not draw me, except to break the feeling of urban sprawl that surrounds my county. I prefer woods and mountains. I like land, the earth.
It is only during the rare dark winter day that the ocean attracts me. It feels wild then, with its choppy seas and clouds that hide Catalina Island. Tourists mostly stay away on days like that and I can walk and ponder on the almost empty sand.
Today was one of those dark days at the beach. And I recalled this passage I copied long ago from an L. M. Montgomery novel, Anne’s House of Dreams. Montgomery’s gift of personifying Nature is one of the major reasons I love her work. And in this particular paragraph it is easy to see those rolling foamy waves in a different way:
It was a shore that knew the magic and mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude about such a shore. The woods are never solitary—they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life. But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its infinite mystery—we may only wander, awed and spell-bound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one only—a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of the company of the archangels.*
* L. M. Montgomery. Anne’s House of Dreams. (New York: Bantam), 1998, p. 54. Originally published in 1922.