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.