At the edge of the Pacific, I am washed in my own personal solace. The heaviness of the larger world slips away and I am able to breathe. Loki, my silly sweet Australian Cobberdog, seems to be getting a taste. Or maybe he’s simply looking for lizards, or whales, or another dog passing that might be a playmate. His long legs balanced atop the wall, I love watching the search all that spreads before him.
My passion for the Pacific originated in my teens, when the beach became a refuge, bearing both a sandy towel or game of hearts, and a canvas mat or surfboard on a wave. When friends piled up in long summer days, the air perfumed with coconut oil and tuna fish sandwiches with lemonade and potato chips. When the long pause in and/or near the water could quell disquieted thoughts. Where family troubles or teen angst vanished.
Something in the persistence of the horizon. That deep cerulean blue line.
I laughingly say that my skin gets itchy if I’m more than 20 miles from the ocean, and when I get within 10, I can scent the pungent seaweeds and tossed shell fragments, as if carried on a particular air current designed for me. I climb back into my skin, my watery alter-self contented with the proximity.
When I’m immersed in the water, my body feels as if it is 12 years old. The aging muscles and bones suddenly young again. The exquisite weightlessness, the dolphin-like quality. The freedom. The fluidity.
Wallace J Nichols writes about the positive impact of the ocean on the human species. His award winning book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do explores exactly what the title promises. Decades ago, a scientist friend said that ocean air bathes the body in negative ions, which in contrast to their name, have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the human psyche.
I no longer understand cities or their draw, and am sure that Loki has caught my ‘crowd allergy’ as he stares out and searches. Ah .. there .. an osprey with a fish. Ah .. there .. a pelican diving. Ah .. there … the chatter of a cactus wren, the slither of a lizard, the float of a cloud. Free from high-rises, traffic jams with road rage, sniper shootings …. We are out here on the edge, Loki and I, building a space where our thoughts are not boxed and our creativity flourishes.