Ancient Thoughts


We humans like to believe that we are sophisticated, advanced, modern. We like to believe that we have left our ancient selves behind. We are no longer tied to the changing faces of the natural world, we tell ourselves. We live in a world of technology and science and modern advances.

Why is it, then, that when the sun sets into the western ocean, so many humans gather on the shore to watch in awe? What is that sense of wonder that comes over us as we watch the golden orb sinking into the ocean?

I don’t know.

All I know is that every time I see the sun set, I want to capture it, to photograph it, to paint it, or to find the words to describe the magic that it seems to be showing us.

We humans like to tell ourselves that we are creatures of reason, of rational thinking, of fact. We do our best to believe that we are subject to the laws of physics, but not to the laws of magic.

We think that we have left behind the primitive worship that our ancestors gave to the forces of nature.

But.

When we step into the arms of the ocean, we humans lose that sense of rationality. The rocking, soothing, calming waves remind us, I think, of cradles and rocking chairs and the loving arms of our parents.

We are magically soothed.

Humans flock to the sea. From every far flung corner of every continent, it seems, we rush toward the sea when we need to rest, to be calm, to find a sense of peace.

Doesn’t that seem to be the most primitive drive? To find ourselves back in the place from where our earliest ancestors emerged? To return to a salt water origin that we all knew before we were born?

There’s just something magical about watching the sun reflect off of the ocean. There is a kind of healing and rebalancing that happens when we find ourselves afloat in the ocean. It’s elemental.

I can’t describe it. I keep trying, but I can’t.

All I know is that there is magic here. Magic that reminds us that we aren’t, after all, so far from our true origins. We haven’t come so far from the first humans who stood on beaches like this one.

We still want to watch the sun set and moon rise. We want to feel the salt wind in our faces. We find ourselves compelled to gather up the most perfect and beautiful of sea shells.

I love this about us. I love the fact that just beneath our carefully applied surfaces, we’re still only one small step away from our most primitive and basic origins.

We still live, whether we like it or not, in a world that is ruled by magic.

Perfect, beautiful, natural

Let the Autumn Come


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It was a September Tuesday.  It should have been fresh and brisk outside.  Our small New England town should have been feeling the oncoming change of seasons.

It was nearly 90 degrees outside, and as humid as a typical July day in Massachusetts.  My friend and I, both retired as of July 1st, decided to spend the day kayaking on a local lake. When we made the plan, of course, we knew that it would be a “weather permitting” event.

Well.  The weather certainly permitted today!

I woke up early, showered, dressed in a bathing suit and shorts, cleaned out my kayak, and found my paddles and jacket.  I filled a water bottle, walked the dogs, and waited for Lesley to arrive.

So funny!  My dear friend, with her graying hair that matches mine, arrived in a big old pickup truck, her kayak tied safely into the back. We did what ladies our age always do (we used the bathroom before we left), then piled into the truck and headed to the lake.

The place where I took my friend is a good sized lake about ten minutes from my house. It is common in that it is a lake in a region of many lakes. It is unusual in that it is nearly uninhabited, except for a big boy scout camp on one side.

Because it is September, and schools have opened, the camp was empty when we arrived. We parked the truck, unloaded our kayaks and happily headed out into the beautiful green waters of the lake.  We paddled our way around the cove, passing the boarded up camp cabins.  We made our way to a few of the small islands that dot the lake.

We let ourselves float for a bit, watching a family of loons as they fished in the cool water.  We looked at an abandoned beaver lodge, admired the water lilies, watched a graceful blue heron groom his wings.

The sun beat down on our backs.  The sky was a perfectly clear, dry blue.  The water kept calling us.

We put the boats ashore at a tiny beach that was most likely part of the Scout Camp. We let ourselves fall into the cool, clear water.  We floated.

There were no other humans in sight.  We heard only the loons, the gently lapping waves, and breeze in the pines.

How did we get so lucky, we kept asking ourselves, grinning at each other as we lay on our backs in the middle of the lake.  How did we ever find ourselves in such a perfect place, on such a perfect day?

We closed our eyes.  We let the water carry us.  We smelled the metallic herbal tang of the water all around us.  We watched a hawk circle, high over head.

My friend and I, two women who have worked together for many years, allowed ourselves to steep in the perfect heat and cool of the moment.  We paddled our way back to shore.  We loaded the boats and went home for lunch.

Let Autumn come, we told each other.  Today was the most perfect celebration of the Summer.