Gift from the SeaI’ve rediscovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book Gift from the Sea,

Vintage Books 1978

An exerpt from chapter VI: Argonauta:

“We wake in the same small room from the deep sleep of good children, to the soft sound of wind through the casuarina trees and the gentle sleep-breathing rhythm of waves on the shore.  We run bare-legged to the beach, which lies smooth, flat, and glistening with fresh wet shells after the night’s tides.  The morning swim has the nature of a blessing to me, a baptism, a rebirth to the beauty and wonder of the world….  And then to work, behind closed doors neither of us would want to invade. What release to write so that one forgets oneself, forgets one’s companion, forgets where one is or what one is going to do next – to be drenched in work as one is drenched in sleep or in the sea.  Pencils and pads and curling blue sheets alive with letters heap up on the desk.  And then, pricked by hunger, we rise at last in a daze, for a late lunch.  Reeling a little from our intense absorption, we come back with relief to the small chores of getting lunch, as if they were lifelines to reality – as if we had indeed almost drowned in the sea of intellectual work and welcomed the firm ground of physical action under our feet…. Then out onto the beach for the afternoon where we are swept clean of duties….we walk up the beach in silence, but in harmony, as the sandpipers ahead of us move like a corps of ballet dancers keeping time to some interior rhythm inaudible to us.  Intimacy is blown away.  Emotions are carried out to sea.  We are even free of thought, at least of their articulation; clean and bare as whitened driftwood; empty as shells, ready to be filled up again with the impersonal sea and sky and wind…. And when we are heavy and relaxed as the seaweed under our feet, we return at dusk to the warmth and intimacy of our cottage….  We sip sherry at leisure in front of a fire.  We start supper and we talk.  Is it the uninterrupted dark expanse of the night after the bright segmented day, that frees us to each other?  Or does the infinite space and infinite darkness dwarf and chill us, turning us to seek small human sparks? ….Before we sleep we go out again into the night.  We walk up the beach under the stars.  And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the sand under a bowl of stars.  We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim.  This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide….”

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