Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Sea Change

Claude Monet, Fisherman's Cottage on the Cliffs at Varengeville, 1882

"I go to the sea to breathe"

~ Maryanne Rademacher Hershey

I live in a landlocked spot in Canada.... far, far from any seashore... west coast or east. But I've been longing for the smell of salty air and the feeling of wind blowing on my face and hearing the call of seagulls as they swoop and glide on warm air currents. So, lately, when looking for suitable photos for blog posts, I'm drawn to water and seascapes where shades of blues and grays and greens give a feast for my sea-hungry eyes. And isn't that painting by Claude Monet such a feast?

Then when Christine from Vista Woman sent me the quote above by Maryanne Hershey, I realized, yes, ever since I was a girl it has been the sea and sand in my mind's eye that I would go to in order to 'breathe' and find peace of mind. For the glimpses of the ocean I'd had as a child when our family visited aunts and uncles and cousins -- who were so lucky to live on the west coast -- gave me a lifelong love of the sea... and, yes, the seagulls too. What is it about being by the ocean that refreshes, restores and rejuvenates?

Now I want to go to Victoria and watch the boats on the Pacific Ocean. I want to take a ferry to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. I want to take a voyage across the Atlantic (on the Queen Mary 2) and visit places like Cornwall, England. 

And maybe what I really would love is a day (or two) to sit on a perch like Monet must have done for this painting... to just sit and watch. Listen. Feel. Be quiet with my thoughts. Or have no thoughts. And as my soul quieted down from the buzz of life, I might start to notice, like the artist, how the colours shift and dance as the light changes. And by sitting here I might feel my soul, even my body, begin to shift and dance back into divine order. Maybe I would feel whole again. Less scattered. More able to go back to the up-side-down world, refreshed and able to sing through the storms, bless others with kindness, and bring little touches of heaven to my corner of the world.

Apparently Monet could sit in one spot for hours -- while his fellow artists ran here and there for the next best spot to paint -- to study the way the sun glinted off the water, how the colours deepened and softened, how the light changed as the day lengthened. Perhaps that's what made him such a brilliant painter of colour and light. He once said that it was on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.

"I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot; and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even." ~ Claude Monet

Through observation and reflection.... yes, that's when we discover things. That's also when we hear the tender breathings of our heart. Just to be in that place of stillness so that Someone Dear and Divine finally gets a word in edgewise, because we've stopped long enough to listen. The light starts to shine in the darkness and dull waters turn bright with jade-green and aquamarine and deep Prussian blue.
As I watch the early morning light shift into full scale daylight, here on my perch that is far, far away from any seashore, somehow I am transported. I smell the salty air. I feel the wind on my face... and hear the seagulls calling.

I begin to experience the sea change.  I can breathe again.

 Here's wishing you a*´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * a beautiful day! *


  1. How delightful that your imagination can carry you away like that. I need to get to the sea a few times a year just to sit and watch the waves roll. In the Northeast, we can smell the sea...I'm told that it isn't true of the West Coast...anyway, I need to smell that smell, too.

  2. Brenda, let me grab my lawn chair and a glass of wine, and I'll join you on the beach!

  3. That is a beautiful painting! I was right there with you as I read this....thanks for the trip :-)


  4. Ummm, yes, the sea. Why is it healing? Perhaps it is the rhythmic waves lapping the shore, the oceanic scent wafting in the air. Maybe, maybe we are trying to travel back to the waters of the womb, to something familiar, to something comforting. The ocean has been calling my name, too.

  5. I know what you mean. Water, the sea, calls to me so often, and here we dont have far to go.
    If ever you have the chance to visit Monet's house and gardens in France, do take it.

  6. you made me think of the times we traveled , staying with Susan in her Victoria condo, and going to Victoria with my sister. It was wonderful, so I am looking at the ocean waves in my mind too. You painted a beautiful picture with your words.

  7. Ah yes, the sea. I find it endlessly fascinating. There's nothing like a walk along the shore, either on a sandy beach with the opportunity to wade in the water (on a very warm day) or high above it on rocky cliffs where gulls swoop and cry.
    Taking the time to sit and be still and let God's presence sweep in and over me like the waves is something I don't do enough of. Beautiful post, Brenda.

  8. I know exactly what you mean. It is like the ocean recharges my internal batteries. I love to just sit gazing at the push-pull of the water, and the sunlight transforming it into more shades than a painter's palate.

  9. Beautiful thoughts today, Brenda! I know exactly what you are feeling - the sea just seems to draw us in with its soothing sound of crashing waves and salty scented air. I love the painting by Monet - those lovely, soft colors....Whenever I am craving the sea, I re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's 'Gift of the Sea'. It really speaks to me. I hope you get a chance to visit the sea soon, at least in your dreams. Lovely post. Hugs xo Karen

  10. Well Brenda, if you ever decide to go on those trips, give me a call! I've been thinking I'd love to visit both coasts of Canada. And the Greek Islands too. :) This is a beautiful post, and I really enjoy how you write. I lived in Florida for 5 years as a little girl, and we would often go to the ocean. While I love the Great Lakes, I miss the salt air, and warmer water. There is something so peaceful and rejuvenating at the same time.

  11. Beautiful post. I love the coast and only have been once when I was eleven. Too long to go without the salt water! I love coastal magazines and decorating, just because it 'put you there' even if you're not.

    I really like Monet as well. Used to have a cat named Monet actually, but he was named by my mother. Ha! It did suit him, though.

    Hope your day is bright as this post,


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo