Other people’s words about … the ocean at night
They [drive] across the train tracks where they see a sign proclaiming PARADISE JUST 7 KMS AHEAD.
Paradise is a caravan park. Her father kills the engine and sits still, gripping the wheel. Rose can hear the ocean; the sudden intake of its breath, as though it has remembered something, something terrible, but finding there is nothing it can do, it breathes out again. The night is dark and starless.
‘It’s as good a place as any,’ he finally says.
From ‘The Midnight Dress’
by Karen Foxlee
Usually, when I quote passages describing the sea on this blog, I accompany them with whatever latest shots I have taken of the sea. So it seems more than a little ironic to me that I don’t have any recent shots of the ocean at all to accompany the beautiful quote in today’s post. I live by the sea! I love the sea! How can I not have any new photos of it?
But it’s been a hot, windy spring in South Australia, creating conditions that are less than photogenic, particularly here where I live, by the coast. And in addition, I’ve been busy and tired for the last few weeks, settling into my new job, working new hours, stepping back into life after a period of withdrawal.
Still, I’m quoting this description of the sea today anyway, because I love the metaphor in it: the idea that you can hear the sea breathing.
Hot, blue, windy sky
Besides, like all good metaphorical words, Karen Foxlee’s words, which I’ve quoted above, aren’t really (or aren’t only) about the sea. Have Rose and her father really arrived at a paradisiacal destination? Is any destination, at any stage in our lives, paradisiacal?
No. Of course not.
Seagull surviving the heat by the Port River
And so back to me, and to the real reason for my lack of sea-themed photographs. One of my favourite times for taking photos of the sea is when I’m running right alongside it: either on the foreshore path, or on the shore itself, by the water’s edge. But I’ve been so tired over the last few weeks — exhausted, actually, to the point of illness — that I haven’t had the energy to run much, if at all.
I am grateful for my new job, which, in comparison to my previous work situation seems virtually paradisiacal. All the same, I’ve been trudging through my days, and the sea has been, at best, a distant companion.
And yet. The place I am now, this place I have arrived at in my life — a little by design, mostly by chance — is, as Rose’s father says, as good a place as any.
I’ll settle for this life I’m living, paradise or no.
Scenes from my life over the last few weeks
Lately I’ve been reading about …
- … why there are good reasons for not being rigid about your diet, even if you are an animal-lover
- … and, still on the theme of flexibility, how to approach living with a chronic illness so that it feels manageable rather than torturous.