Monday, July 14, 2014

The Romance of the Sea

Our family had a discussion recently about what geological feature is the most attractive to each of us: ocean, forest, mountain, plain, desert, icecap, etc. I have always said "mountains."  I especially love the Austrian Alps, but find the Smokies, Blue Ridge, and the Colorado/New Mexico Rockies to be close to my heart. I lived ten months in Austria during my sophomore year. This is where I lived.

Which is why I was struck this morning while I was reading the Afterward of the Third Edition of Lewis's Pilgrim's Regress by the phrase, "the noise of the falling waves."  Suddenly a series of recent events and associations came to mind having to do with the sea. I'm reading Treasure Island aloud to the boys. I saw the play Jane Austen's Persuasion yesterday, which features an admiral and two sea-captains. I've been listening to one of my favorite orchestral pieces, La Mer, by Debussy.

Finally, as we were waiting to watch the play, we sat at the little amphitheater at Concordia University that looks over Lake Michigan. It may not be the ocean, but it is an inland sea. The colors of the water and the sky were breathtaking. It is as if someone had taken all the blues and greens from a sixty-four crayon box and drawn a sea-scape. I wish I had a picture of it.  I wish I had had an hour and the skill to paint it. My thirteen-year old son couldn't take his eyes off of it. The picture is from my other son's smart phone. I tried to adjust the color some to get the nuance, but the greens and purples aren't as strong they really were

One of my most vivid memories is walking to the west end of one of the main streets in San Francisco and coming to a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Huge waves were crashing against the rocks below. The sky was a dramatic of sun and whirling clouds. I just stood there and listened to the "noise of the falling waves."  If I hadn't had an appointment I might have stood there for hours.

I'm not an "ocean" guy like some of my kids are, but there is certainly a "romance of the sea" which affects me deeply. I think the same can be said about forest and desert. I'm not so much struck by the plains or prairie, although I love the Little House books, and the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain.

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