Another aspect of St. Augustine that is delightful in most any season is the very wide sea-shore, that seemingly ever expansive view that runs from Jacksonville to Daytona and beyond. The beaches here are very wide, so wide in fact that at the far end of the shore cars can drive on the heavily patted down beach sand that acts more like clay than it does like sand.
What I most recall about my love for the ocean was a phrase that I used to describe my relationship to it. I called it my constant factor. I think that I observe it much in the way that a child observes God. I look straight into its face and feel as if I can see beyond the horizon. The ebb and flow of the tides, the strength or calmness of the waves, the force of the moon and the pull that it has on the water, these are all aspects of the sea that fell in love with.
Returning to the sea is a kind of returning home. It reminds me of Catholic school conversion experiences. It was the case that the nuns of the Presentation of Mary like to run miracles in the class room–like bringing a nearly dead plant back to life. It is how I feel about the sea, or maybe any large body of water. It functions to bring me back to life.
But especially the sea.
I am drawn to the consistency that it shows me. Be it a storm, a clear day, heavy clouds, or bright sun, the water ebbs and flows with a rhythm that reminds me of my heart and the manner that it beats through my storms and my clear days with regularity.
Of course, I can not compare this vision with a vision of permanence. Even the ocean will have its own cycle of a birth to death experience. It will be sometimes into the future I suspect. But eventually everything dies and there is not always a catholic school nun to revive it. Miracles are more subtle than that.
The colors and patterns of the shore line are so like the rivulets and channels that connect the insides of my head to other parts of the insides of my head. A long flowing stream of salt water meandering back to the shore line after a particularly high tide, is a lot like my mind wandering back to that place where I forgot my soul.
As I wander on the beach, often times with a deep sense of nostalgia that boders on a sadness, I am remind that the sadness is just another expression of love. To the extent that I love life is the extent to which I do not want to lose it. I do not want to let it go in the hopes that an afterlife will be better…This is good enough for me. I like it here and I am not ready to make a journey past the horizon.
I appreciate the patterns that life applies to me, the patterns that I adopt as I look at the universe and determine for myself what it is that I like and what it is that I do not like. That central condition of desire emanates just as graciously from the soul as it does from the psyche, or as we call it the ego.
Returning home for me is often a process of stopping completely, clearing all my thought and letting in only the beauty of a moment of existence–however brief. This still-point is the God particle. This still-point is the center of where I think from and where I feel from. But it is also the center of my existence and I have to deliberately return myself to that point in order to enjoy a moment of freedom from the thoughts and allow in the majesty that is the universe–God made or not.