I’ve been kicking around this thought ever since my vacation a few weeks ago. I was walking along the Jersey shore where I love the sights and sounds of the beach and boardwalk. I get my enjoyable entertainment with my daughter in a commercial and natural wayâ€¦embracing rides and games along with the joys of nature, via the ocean. While I love playing skill cranes and going on rides with her, I also enjoy just hanging on the beach down by the waves while she plays in the ocean. But this time, it got me thinking.
As I was watching the waves at my feet, I kind ofÂ got lost in time. The waves just kept coming. And going. Back and forth, as they forever doâ€¦to that point where if you stand in one place long enough you slowly sink into the sand. And I thought of a popular (and brief!) poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow while this was happening, â€śThe Tide Rises, and The Tide Fallsâ€ť. Here is the middle of the three stanzas:
Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
â€śEffaceâ€ť means to erase or wipe away, as was happening with my footprints. But I thought about how I got this chance to reflect while watching the ocean, and as I was thinking about my problems, I felt that passage of time. It keeps going. Goodâ€¦bad, time just keeps on going, like the waves. Endlessly.
It just made me think a little easier about my problems, whether it was to let some things go, or say that some wonâ€™t go away, and I need to handle them (slight coming back to “efface”). In the classic sense of a Romantic Period poem (as this one is), connecting with nature helped me get a little more in-touch with myself.