Earlier in the fall, some of my friends and I made our way to a beach in Georgia. While there, we frequented a driftwood beach, where massive tree trunks blossomed out of the sand like a wooden graveyard. There was something hypnotic about those thick branches reaching toward the sky while the waves crashed around them. My friend told us earlier this beach was a thin place—and standing there I felt it—the distance between here and there—that place of Other? A fraction of an inch.
One afternoon, I stood on the edge of the shore while the tide came in and felt the sand wash out and over my feet. Something was happening internally. I could feel this shifting—as if my organs were moving around to allow space for something deeper. Something rooted.
It's a strange thing to allow yourself the feeling of sinking when for so long you've been fighting against it.
But I stood there, and let the ocean caress my toes and feet and legs and knees and felt myself sway with the waves. My hair flew up and out and the sun beat down and warmed my arms from the cool breeze blowing haphazardly. I closed my eyes and listened for that rhythm I'd come to know—the one where my words stay—and I could hear them forming. Hear the letters crashing against each other and moving around to build the words that would one day describe this scene.
Looking down, I found a conch shell. I picked it up and rinsed off the sand and wiggled my toes free and made my way back to our gypsy camp we'd set up further up the coastline. As I walked away, the ocean waves crashing behind me, the tears started lodging themselves in my throat.
Sometimes, the Beauty overtakes you. Sometimes, the salt water comes from every where and it's a baptism from all angles: the spray of the ocean and the spray of our soul.
I fingered the conch shell and grabbed a sharpie. I looked out toward the blue, where the horizon and ocean meet and you can't tell the difference anymore, and I thought of the past year. Of the breathtaking beauty and soul-splitting disappointment. There was hope and despair, excitement and rage, promising beginnings and harsh endings.
And I almost didn't hear it happen, but some how, despite the cranes and the seagulls and the waves and the distant voices of laughter and the boat's whistle in the distance—deep inside I heard a door softly shut and a new one swing open.
It was an invitation.
I wrote all over the conch shell. Dreams and hopes and wishes and prayers. It mentioned something about being a mama and publishing and writing more and Story Sessions and loving my husband well.
And then I kissed the salt water on the shell, walked toward the shore, and threw it back into the waves.