Voices on the Wind
bty Leslie Clark
I’m not certain where mine originated, though I know it’s common
among us earthbound humans. Perhaps we acquire it in the womb
where we’re surrounded by gently caressing fluid Then, when
we reluctantly emerge into harshness of air, the ocean,
with its susurration beckons us to a place reminiscent
of our first aquatic home.
I am aware that as a child, the New Jersey beach was the one
place I recall being completely happy. The Atlantic there
is anything but spectacular. The mild gray waves flow timidly
onto equally drab sand. Still, I gloried in the raucous cries
of gulls, while I dug my tiny feet into sucking sands on the water’s
edge, body surfed in non-threatening currents, played nonsensical
watery games with my siblings and cousins.
There, the ever-present supervision of adults was somewhat relaxed.
They’d coat our limbs and torsos with their version of suntan lotion–
baby oil and iodine, then release us to our pursuits as they lolled
on blankets and gossiped or napped. Freed, we’d scamper down
to the place where water met land, to cavort for hours.
No worries there about schoolwork or baseball teams or violin practice.
At the shore, there were only the waves and the sun and the promise
of limitless blue skies.
I’ve explored worldwide seas since then, from the aquamarine warmth
lapping on the black volcanic sands of Tahiti, to the violent clash of breakers
on rocks in the northern Atlantic and Pacific, to gentle blue-green
fish-rich depths of the Caribbean, and various rocky and sandy shores
in many parts of Europe. In whatever seascape I find myself,
the blessings of serenity and quiet joy greet me again.
The high desert of Arizona, where I lived for many years, has its own
majestic beauty. I loved greeting the mountains every morning, and spring
and fall weather was glorious. But I never stopped missing proximity
to my cherished ocean. Now, my favorite view is from high on a California
cliff, where the music of the ocean supersedes human clamor
echoing from vibrant umbrellas and windbreak tents below.
Finally, I’ve come home to my most enduring love.