Ocean gleanings

We can see the Pacific Ocean from our house on the San Diego coast but we can not hear or see its waves.  So to round out our camping season, we pull our Airstream Safari on a 45-minute drive up the coast to South Carlsbad State Beach where we join the squirrels in watching and listening to the soothing, continuous waves.*

DSC_0022 Ocean, bluff & squirrels

The trailer gets unhitched on the bluff, 50 feet above the waves.

DSC_0315 Airstream Safari on bluff

Brown pelicans sail by on the updraft of sea breezes.

DSC_0066 Pelicans soaring

Pelicans also use the updraft of incoming waves.

DSC_0057 Pelicans soaring above surf

The ocean sustains life, such as the Whimbrel feeding off the surface.

DSC_0304 Wimbrel feeding

The ocean also provides small fish, the primary food for the great blue heron.

DSC_0218 Great Blue heron

The ocean beckoned me to come closer and a stairway led me to the beach.

DSC_0149 Stairway to the beach

Walking along the beach is living in the present.

DSC_0053 Footsteps along the beach

I thought about the preciousness of life and how each of us can make a difference.  I thought about the Starfish Story (aka The Star Thrower),* about a boy picking up stranded starfish on the beach and throwing them back into the ocean.

DSC_0042 Throwing the 'starfish' back

A man walked nearby and asked the boy what he was doing.  The boy explained that the sun was rising and the tide was going out and he’s throwing them back in so they won’t die.  The man replied that there were too many of them for him to make a difference.

DSC_0043 It made a difference

As the boy threw another starfish back, he replied, “I made a difference to that one.”

Sunrises and sunsets are indeed inspiring and wonderful to share.

DSC_0018 Sunset stroll

They provide a special moment to contemplate the mysteries and celebrations of life…

DSC_0108 Sunset at the beach

and my thoughts led me back to the ocean…

DSC_0075 There will always be the ocean

and to Cynthia Rich’s words in her “Dharma Gleanings” blog entry of June 22, 2014:

“Here’s what my memory loss feels like to me. It’s as though I now know that there has always been within me—or accessible to me—this rich, amazing ocean filled with swimming fish of all different shapes, sizes, colors, swaying coral, green algae. I scoop down as I always have to capture one of the fishes just long enough to look at it closely before I release it. The difference in these years is that the fish often wriggles off beyond my sight before I can catch it or perhaps even name it. What my process of awakening has made clear to me is that there are endless, innumerable fish with glittering scales and swishing fins in that ocean of impermanence, and there is no need to attach to this particular one. Instead, as the fish I had looked for slips away, I experience the deeper enjoyment that springs from gratitude for the ocean itself, for the endless energy of endlessly diverse life.

And even when I can no longer see the diverse life, there will always be the ocean, primal, still, deep, welcoming.”

And then I thought about Thich Nhat Hanh’s words while looking deeply at the ocean waves, as they seem to be born a ways out and then die on the beach, but really illustrate the concept of no death, no fear.

No Death, No Fear – Thich Nhat Hanh, Part 74*

DSC_0133 Waves, no death, no fear

*This is a link to a YouTube video.


About Bill D.

Bill is a retired RN who has enjoyed working as a docent in a well-known historic house museum, and now is a proud volunteer in San Diego's newest state-of-the-art hospital, Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. He enjoys reading, writing, and meditating, especially about mindfulness as discussed by Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh. (Photo credit: Jokie Tolentino)
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