Friday, 4 July 2014

The sea

Such a glorious summer. Day after day of sun.

This morning early I sat by the ocean with a thermos of tea, delighting in the light and the air, the cry of the herring gulls. Nobody much about, no traffic yet.  I listened to the sound of the sea, and thought about why I love it so much.

I have very early memories. I can remember my sister (then five, lively and perky, impish grin, red curls, freckles), amusing me by peeping into my pram – it had the hood up. The pram went when I was six months old, so I was less than that then.

But I have an earlier memory, less specific and not visual. I remember being held, carried, in someone’s arms – whether my mother or father I do not know.

Then today, as I watched and listened to the sea, it occurred to me that the sound of the sea and the sounds a baby hears in utero must be very similar – the whooshing, the rhythmic beat.

And humanity came from the sea. Even still, the memory is in our bodies. A sea urchin’s gametes and zygotes are the same as the human. In child born early, the lanugo is whorled according to the patterns of water – having developed in its own mini-ocean – and a fetal whale also has lanugo. The Earth is our mother but the sea is her womb; life came from the sea.

As I thought about this, I could feel my way, trace the thread, back to the protectiveness and responsibility that characterized my mother, as an attitude towards me as a child, and as an environment when I grew in utero. Something entirely reliable, utterly dependable.

Though – like everybody – I have my weaknesses and vulnerabilities, I know my capacity for contentment and peace, the sense of security I have in being who I am, comes from the unconditional positive regard towards me from my mother in my years of early development both before and after birth. Basically, with my mother looking after you, you would be okay.

And when I sit by the sea, it takes me right back to that. I am once again an unborn child, lapped in the security of my mother’s body; safe.

Odd, when the sea is so dangerous, so capricious, so subject to weathers and storms. Elemental. One must respect the sea.


gail said...

That 's very beautiful Pen. The sea can be very calming.I like to listen to the very gentle little waves as they curl and lap quietly to the shore. When the weather is rough we can just hear the sea from where we live. This makes me a little uneasy, perhaps because I really enjoy quietness. Funny how some folk are sea folk and others are country. I am a country girl and the big fellow is a sea man. Together we complement one another and can enjoy both.
Have a lovely weekend Pen.
Blessings Gail.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Rapunzel said...

Born and bred in the American Midwest I have seen exactly one ocean in my life. It was a few years ago, The Manimal took me along on a business trip to Portland, Oregon. Knowing I'd never seen an ocean he scheduled an extra day into the trip as a surprise, and drove me across Oregon to meet the Pacific.
I remember standing there watching the water wash across my shoes over and over, and thinking "I could be content to live here all my life."
And I still think so.
Lovely post, Pen, Thank You!

Pen Wilcock said...

I'm so glad you saw the sea! My childhood was very inland, though my father grew up by the sea and a couple of times as a child I went to say with his parents who sit lived on the coast. I can to live here as a young adult, and I couldn't now imagine living away from the sea. Sussex, where I live, is a wonderful county - woods and hills, a lot of little farms and common land, as well as the ocean.

xx :0)

Rapunzel said...

Sussex sounds heavenly--a bit of everything. No wonder you settled there, you're a bit of everything yourself!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Katrina Green said...

I painted a representation once of what I believe is a memory from in the womb. My conception had been an unwelcome shock to my mother and the painting was of a beautiful day in the sea at Cuckmere Haven but with a bolt of lightning shooting right through it.

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah - our memory encompasses so much more than is conventionally accepted.