do you see what I see
Even as we leave the house the rain falls silently, light and soft, dotting our arms. We stare at the sky, the wild chaos of cloud, the battle between light and dark. After a cleansing, everything looks raw and startling, new.
The shore looks flat, smoothed and then embroidered with gemstones, bordered with old lace. The jewels are really shattered shells, glazed seaglass no longer jagged, bones and teeth fossilized into onyx beads; the lace, hulls of withered sea grass, knotted and buried in the sand. Below this, upturned clam shells litter the beach randomly, as though abandoned. Rain dribbles over their purple and gold rims, cupped like an elixir; cocktails, flavored with a dash of sand, a twist of freedom. The beach is deserted. It feels like we’re walking into a ballroom uninvited after a riotous party, as though the guests have only just retired, as though, listening carefully, we can still faintly hear the rumble of music, the crack of shoes against a polished floor. This is the place where broken and worn and knotted up things become stunning; a place so naked that it strips beauty bare. Because truly, nearly everything looks exquisite in this quiet light, beneath these sweeping skies, beside this silvery sea, now calm and glassy, as though spent; velvety and tranquil, like shimmering silk.
I wear my hair in a braid, and day lights the bits of gray at the crown of my head until it shines, until I look in the mirror and see bright where the dull used to be. My skin is always warm here, as though I’ve swallowed the sun; my eyes are tidal pools–green as the ocean, brown as the sand. The sea, emboldened by the yearning of the moon, rubs away my sharp edges and washes me clean. Nothing that draws near the ocean exists independently; by and by, we all become part of her. Oh, it’s possible to build our walls thick and our houses high, but she rages jealously; she won’t be kept away. It’s her way to consume, to change the shape of things, to make gemstones and lace out of broken, slicing, discarded shards and wilted lives. Every day, the shore she touches is different, reimagined, sometimes bare and ribbed, sometimes swathed and flowing. This is why I love the sea; why I believe there is a sea. The ocean is God’s back; the glimpse of Him we’re all allowed. It takes my breath away.
For a short while, we walk silent as the rain, lightly pressing our toes against baubles, dipping our fingers in sparkling water. We pause and snap imperfect pictures with our cameras. Some things cannot be captured with a lens, not even with our eyes. We’re like children begging to see, creeping closer to birds, wandering away from each other and then laughing quietly when we end up side-by-side, gathering up the shape of the same wind-bent tree, the same iridescent bit of shell left carelessly, like part of a piece of jewelry that, breaking, falls and wildly scatters in the sand. Just now, we breathe in seaspray with the rain, remembering this simple, important thing: We don’t see as God sees. We can be so blind to beauty. But God sees beyond our lonely broken, to what we truly are in his hands.
So we look at each other and smile, stepping a bit closer to the edge, silently asking to be touched.