Every year my family comes to stay in a house on the ocean. Sometimes in the spring. Sometimes in the summer. When we are lucky, it is more than once. It’s strange that it feels like such an other place because I could easily visit the ocean every day – we live a 15 minute drive away from a beach. But in these ocean houses, it is different. It is as if everything is about the water. Like the rhythmic pull of the tide, I am slowly pulled from my other, every day life.
I watch the ocean all day. Wake up to it throughout the night. The stars are brighter. The skies are more dramatic. The world is lonelier.The constant movement is soothing and terrifying all at once. I watch the surface looking for sightings of all things I wish desperately to see: whales, dolphins, beautiful birds of the sea.
I walk along the shore and think about what life would be like if I lived here. If I knew this shore. Each rock, each possible sunrise, the patterns of the tides.
I think about small moments of a different life. A life that might be mine if I lived in a house by the sea.
I would have a large dog and every day we would walk away from the water and into the forest, breathing deep the moist, earthy air, noticing anything that broke through the quiet: bird song, footfalls, wind whistles.
Morning coffee would be sipped early in the morning on a rock overlooking the ocean. A warm jacket would wait on the same hook for me each day. I would step into boots in the winter, sandals in the summer, worn so often they could walk themselves down our path.
Storms would find me in my favourite chair by the window spellbound by the ferocity of the wind, the angry dark tones of the sky and the pounding of water from both clouds and sea.
I would add carefully to my collections. Jars and jars of sea glass. Bowls of smooth stones. Shells, bones and wood that caught my eye.
Every whale I saw would delight and sadden me. Oh, that I was at the right spot and looked up just when. But what if it never happened again? My luck would feel so precious that my eyes would fill with tears each and every time.
I would think differently about blue and grey and white. Rocks would tell me stories. The sun’s rise and fall at the horizon would never fail to hold my attention.
If I lived in a house by the sea.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.