Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Gift From the Sea

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.

These are the opening words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's novel, Gifts From The Sea. It's a book I've read a few times, although not recently. Nonetheless, my thoughts have circled back to the book several times during my weeklong stay on the coast of North Carolina.

My memory of the book was first awakened yesterday as I sat on the beach reading Barbara Kingsolver's latest, The Lacuna. It's a work of historical fiction that outlines the history of Mexico and the United States from the late 1920s to the 1950s. Lindbergh is just one of the cast of famous characters encountered by the main character as he lives and records his life in Mexico and the US. Mention is made of Lindbergh's father, Dwight, and his life as a US ambassador in Mexico. Apparently it was while he was living in Mexico that he thought to invite Charles Lindbergh down for a goodwill tour. In turn, he introduced him to his daughter. A short time later they were engaged.

So, I guess Anne Morrow Lindbergh was still with me this morning as I walked along the beach at sunrise. I strolled along the deserted beach at 6:00 AM with a few other early risers and watched the sun paint a pink rag of sky along the horizon. I walked slowly with my head in a downward gaze in search of the one thing I'd been unable to locate all week...sea glass. I've never had much luck finding sea glass on the Outer Banks; I think I've managed to locate a two, maybe three shards. Even though I'd already been searching for three days, I still held out hope that I'd find something.

And then...there it was. A sparkle of green surrounded by the blacks, browns and pearls of washed up shells. It was one, very small, gift from the sea. Patience paid off.

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