Lessons from the Waters Edge

Porthleven UK

It is 5am, the first light of day has been out for almost an hour and the harbor’s waters have receded again. The boats lie abandoned in the mud. I know they will float again but twice a day, the waters pull back exposing the vulnerabilities of the boats and skiffs. They look despairingly as though they know they cannot escape even if their little sailing lives depended on it. Yet, that is not how it’s perceived by the people who live and work around the water. They know the cycles–they chart their days by the tides and by the force of the ocean currents. They know when to head out and when to put the anchor down. The elements teach them and their boats the critical factor of patience.

There is so much to learn looking out at these boats and the people who attend them. There is so much to appreciate and certainly respect. Above all, I have come to see and love and even absorb the mightiness of the ocean. Its allure is both its power and strength as well as its calmness and serenity.

As I walk along the path, I am often overhead the crashing waves below. I pause in amazement as the tides slam against boulders and shore line, the same shore line that miners removed for slate and granite, leaving the sea cliffs vulnerable.

The mining has caused some of the cliffs to plummet into the sea while other parts have colorful succulents and thistle blanketing them in a spectacular earthen carpet. They hold on, even at the cliff’s edge. These cliffs, like the boats and tides, teach me something. That sometimes we hang on even in the torrents of gale force winds and sometimes we just have to let go, allowing ourselves to be carried on by the beauty and strength of what comes next.

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