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.
Carrie, it is a wish of my husband to live in a house by the shore. When we first married, we lived in my husband’s apartment that faced the ocean. Now we live fifteen minutes away and find our way back to the rhythm of the sea. I understand why the shore is calling to you.
It really is so calm and enchanting here – but my eyes rarely leave the horizon. Just saw a sea lion swim by!
Thank you Julie. We love this place we are staying.
So lovely. The book I’m listening to right now, Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, mentions a few times different people’s idea of utopia. I’ve been thinking of writing a slice about my utopia, or maybe just an alternate timeline, where I might be if I’d made different decisions along the way.
Fanatstic idea. I would love to read it.
This is a dream of mine too. It’s something I imagine as I drift to sleep. Strangely, I live in a house by the sea. That meditative world isn’t about where we are physically. It’s something more. Beautiful post, Carrie. Thank you for reminding me of my dream life.
Thank you Julieanne. I love this comment.
What a beautiful slice. You’ve captured the otherness of life by the sea with your words. I love the repetition of “If I lived in a house by the sea…” and the idea that “I would think differently about blue and grey and white. Rocks would tell me stories.” I was skimming through your story as the morning picks up pace and I had to go back and read it slowly and savor it. Thank you.
I am so pleased that it had this impact. Thank you for the comment!
Man, that’s a good one Carrie. I have lived in a house by the sea and miss it every day. We walked the beach and picked up smooth rocks and sea glass. It was other worldly. Sadly it was just a one year rental and since the house was on the market for one million dollars, it was never going to be ours. But love it we did. Your words are so carefully chosen and beautiful.
Many thanks Kimberley – I will admit that I have beautiful inspiration this week.
I agree 100%! My favorite dream too.
I think it is a dream many of us have. I feel fortunate to be here for this week.
What a beautiful post! Your words are exquisite! What a lovely description. Oh, how I wish I lived by the sea, too.
Quite the place to be!
I find the ocean calling, maybe someday I’ll be there all the time? We go each year too to a house by the sea. It is indeed wondrous. You’ve imagined all my dreams too, Carrie. Thank you. (Do you know Henry Beston’s The Outermost House? If not, take a look.)
No – but now in search of . . . Thanks Linda!
I grew up in a house by the sea, and miss it – you captured its delights beautifully, Carrie.
Thank you so much Tara – glad it spoke to you and your experiences.
I have always wanted to live by the ocean. When I was a child, we spent many a summer holiday staying in a cottage at Ocean Park. A lovely post!
I think many of us dream of this life Bev.
Carrie, I love all your blogs, but I especially love your slices! Every year I think that I am ready to participate and then every year it feels too overwhelming. Thank you for sharing!
I have never before even considered it and it does feel overwhelming! But I am learning so much and appreciating the challenge. Thank you so much for this Amy.
Carrie, I think I wrote this…or have you been eavesdropping on me as I sleep?
🙂 Ah, dreams of the sea!
The beach is such a magical place. You captured this beautifully!
Thank you Robin!