Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Robin, Lauren, and the ocean
I suppose there are people who don't like the ocean. I don't recall meeting one. I've heard people prefer a mountain vacation over a beach vacation. I've heard people say that they can't go deep sea fishing because they get seasick. I've heard people say that they don't like the feel of salt water drying on their skin. But not liking the ocean...can't say that I've heard that claimed.
As we wind down our latest trip to the Gulf, I'm struck with the sense that time has been suspended. When nearly every waking moment and all sleeping moments are filled with the surf rhythmically and methodically slapping the shore, I suspect hypnosis occurs. I like the sound. It's original. It becomes so common after a while that I only notice it when I don't hear it. When we are away having a meal or cruising the aisles of the Walmart SuperCenter a few miles away. Normal everyday sounds become...well...normal. I'm thinking that after a few days, one might just come to depend upon that sound (along with the shrieks of gulls and sunburned toddlers). A audible addiction.
I told a friend this week that I believe that the sound of the surf is so appealing because it mimics the sound of the womb. That I was certain that as our hearing developed, every time our mother shifted in her chair or walked to the kitchen for a sweet or salty snack, we would hear the sound of rolling water...the lullaby of the surf. She said she's pretty certain that it's much more of a "gloop, gloop, gloop," sound. I thanked her for that image and for virtually destroying years of romantic notions about my nine months in the womb.
But, in a way, time is suspended at the beach. Things happen, we see snippets of news. We read headlines. But the ocean whispers for us to not fixate on those things. Stay chilled. Relax. Relax. Relax. Listen to my voice.
So, when we return to our home tomorrow, we can re-contemplate what has occurred while we luxuriated under the spell of the Gulf of Mexico. We can re-examine the death of Robin Williams and properly grieve the passing of a shooting star, a true comet of talent, moving so fast and burning so brightly. And having such a wide path that, for years to come, we'll still have wonderful Robin Williams sparks showering around us, keeping us amazed and amused.
We can think about the passing of the beautiful Lauren Bacall, a woman who defined sexy for me before I knew what sexy was. And fully clothed at that. How she shared the screen with THE motion picture icon and held her own. Heck, she didn't just hold her own. She stole the whole darn movie in that one scene. "You do know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." It still makes me feel light-headed. She does too.
I haven't seen the news today. I don't know if there was the death of a third celebrity, as the old superstition goes. I hope not. But if there was, I believe that that voice, as well as the voices of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, was not silenced, but rather became a part of the hum and murmur of the surf. Just another set of voices, personalized frequencies, to add to millions of other voices from the near and distant past to contribute to one of the most pleasing sounds in the world. I believe that their drops of essence become a part of an ocean of essence. The tangy scent of salt on the breeze, the marching swells of turquoise and emerald waters, the slow and easy birth of the sun every morning, and, several hours later, the western sky becoming a strawberry sundae mess as gentle evening reaches out to draw us near.
Another kind of evening drew Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall near this week. And I pray that they have encountered another womb, another hypnotic drumming of life, another world in which to give and receive laughter and tears. Laughter strikingly similar to the shrieks of gulls and sunburned toddlers. Tears akin to the taste of the ocean on the tongue. Newly released droplets in the shimmering ocean spray. Newly released meteors showering across the night sky. Newly released souls gently rising and falling on an eternal sea held afloat by the hand of God.