The sun is coming up but I’m still not leaving the shore. Since I moved here it’s consumed me: my love affair with the sea. I can’t count the hours I’ve spent sitting afront it, diving into it, floating among its waves. Both in the dark and light.
A Midwestern childhood made the ocean something mystical. A place we saved a year to go, endured endless car rides to get to, but so easily was the sacrifice made worth it with a dip of toes. Sand grains under bare feet a form of amnesia.
People often ask me why I moved to Puerto Rico. Sunshine, I say, the warmth of the weather…and the people, the laid back culture, and of course, the sea.
But I think I also came here to heal. The sea can do that. The tide, the ever-flowing waves, the undertow; One just has to spend enough time letting it wash over them and it will take all that was heavy. Burdens, disappointments, heartache, despair. The sea will absorb it all and leave only a sparkle of salt upon the sand-sloughed skin of those it has made buoyant enough to rise from its shallows.
The best thing about healing in the sea is one doesn’t have to try all that hard. Whether one sits, floats, swims, or sinks, they cannot escape awareness of how insignificant they are against the sea’s power.
The ceaseless miracle of the next wave,
then the next,
and then the next,
expose human concern as illusion.
Waking up every morning and looking out across the sea helps me remember how small and how grand life is. It encourages me to live in new ways, to open myself to new depths of love, to write words I didn’t know were living inside of me. It’s going to be hard to leave it for a while. But it is for the life of those words that I’m going to do so.
I’ve come to realize that writing in isolation is not all I need to flourish in my writing life. I need community, literary events, support, conferences, encouragement, retreats, accountability…In other words, I need to immerse myself in a literary sea.
So this nomad is once again taking up the road. My routes, of course, aren’t clear, but if I have my way they will involve lower Alabama, upper Florida, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, Moldova, maybe Syracuse even, to hopefully temporarily land in my writing home of Charlotte. I usually name my purpose “to write”. This time, it’s bigger than the act of writing itself; I’ve done a lot of that! It is launching my novels to live in the world. It is giving the dedication and energy it will take for that to happen.
If you ask me if I’m sure, I’ll say I am. I’ll say I’m sure the words that flow through me can flourish. I’m sure many great blessings will come and many unforeseen paths will open. I’m sure this adventure will expand love…for me and for those I love. And I’m sure the routes, no matter how squiggly, will lead me back to this island, to the family I’ve built here, to my beloved sea.