(This part of the collection of “Stories My Drum Told Me.” Over time these will come together to form a book.)
Amy enjoyed her early mornings, walking the half mile from her home down to the beach. On this early spring day she bundled up in wool pants and a sweater, knotting a woven scarf around her neck to keep out the chill.
She often found the beach deserted at this time of day. The fisherman were already out in their boats, and people in the village were preparing for their day of work. It was good to get away from the growing tension in her little community. It felt like every few days there was a new challenge to deal with. Visitors stopped coming and shops closed. Farmer’s market items became rare as larger towns claimed the area’s produce for themselves. The elders were finding it hard to cope with the rate of change in the outside world. The young just wanted things to go back to normal.
Amy’s body braced against every conversation, creating a knot in her throat and an empty feeling in her belly. She shared the feeling of just wanting all of the changes to stop for a while so she could catch her breath. That was why these walks were so important to her. They gave her the chance to rest in a soothing connection with the sea.
This isolated patch of beach was a feast for her senses. Out beyond the breakers the sea shimmered with the light of a million stars. The white caps sprang into high plumbs, splashed upon the shore and scuttled back outward revealing cinnamon-colored sand. Within each wave swirled the colors of life, the water and sky blending into a rich blue-green. The tendrils of kelp and the swimming forms of fish added accents of gold.
The air was a mixture of moisture and salt. The seaweed added the tang of something old to the sharpness of the sea spray. The ground beneath her feet was a perfect sponge of cool water and warm sand. The wind ran its fingers through her hair, tousling it affectionately. She smiled, remember how her grandmother ruffled her curls when she was little.
She was captivated by the sound of the waves. It had an uneven rhythm that reminded her of a heart-beat. There were pauses between the long, loud, “CHAAA” of a wave breaking against the shore and the low “Shhh,” of the sea pulling it back home.
As she watched, one wave stopped at a few hundred yards from where she stood. The outdrawn ebb of the next wave joined it and climbed on its back. The next wave stopped there as well, not a ripple reaching the shore. In a few minutes, wave upon wave had come to a halt and climbed the crest of this single wave. It seemed fifty feet high and stood absolutely still, frozen in time with just a hint of a curling at its top edge.
Amy’s heart raced, but she could not tell if it was terror or wonder that held her anchored in place. Her mind told her that at any moment this curved wall of water would come to life and crash down upon her, and then sweep away everyone and everything in the village beyond. She watched the very crest of the wave, waiting for the first hint that it was about to break. But the minutes went by and the wave stopped growing, now content to hold the new waves out to sea behind it.
Finally, a deep resonate voice spoke from within the wall of water:
I am water in wave form. I flow where the energy around me tells me to go. I am shaped and formed by air and earth, warmth and wind. My being is not expressed in the same way twice. Every wave and every current are unique. In the midst of all of this change, I remain true to my own fluid nature. I move and shift, filling and then emptying, rushing in and then ebbing back, wave into ocean and ocean into wave.
I am showing you the energy that your mind claims to want. This is what it looks like when change stops and life stands still. A wall forms when emptying does not follow filling, and life energy is withheld rather than given. One whose nature is to be fluid and flowing becomes rigid and threatening. It is uncomfortable and you might even say, “Wrong.”
You have forgotten that you are as fluid and flowing as I am. You are created for constant transformation. You are releasing cells and creating new ones; letting go of old ideas and discovering broader ways of seeing. The surge of discovery and amazement rush into the opening of “I have no idea!” You are always evolving, changing and being made new. This is the deeper nature that we share.
When you are afraid of the changes in your world, do not go stiff and rigid. Remember your fluidity.
As these last words floated away on the breeze, the wall of water began to release its form. Rather than crashing to the shore, it allowed the pull of the ocean to reclaim it. In the rhythm and pattern of ordinary waves, this impossible counter-tide reduced the terrifying wall of water to a normal swell. Amy watched this, delighting in the playfulness of the Mystery. She swayed to the gentle motion of the waves on the shore, feeling her mind and body relax. When it was time to go home, she bowed deeply to the ocean, thanking her wave friends for the gifts they had shared.