We drive slowly through the narrow lanes, past Newport’s piers and shops, and once again admire the old Rhode Island town’s historic sea captain’s houses and millionaire’s mansions, then head out onto the scenic road that skirts Narragansett Bay.
The bay is hardly visible, as fog has swallowed up familiar scenes. One of our young companions looks out and observes, “It’s like the Newport Bridge never even existed!”
And so I am preoccupied with thoughts of bridges lost and drifting in the fog, of sailing ships and whaling ships, of those who must go down to the sea, of bodies and souls both tempest-tossed, of swirling surf and wild waves, of cabbages and kings.
Just then a snowy egret takes wing before my very eyes, bright pure holy white against the churning dark sea.
This day near the ocean is harsh and howling, its energy chaotic and its strength overwhelming and its roaring message sounding like a warning…It is a lovely day.
Here’s what it looked like last week as I gazed out over my toes at the waters off Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island:
Robert Frost noted that the thoughts of a boy are long, long thoughts. So are mine, at least when I’m near the ocean. I dream, wonder, think, marvel, ponder, admire and savor, all without the effort usually required for such activities. It all washes over me in waves….like the lines in John Lennon’s song, “Across the Universe:”
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me.
Jai Guru Deva. Om
To which I add “Amen” and “Please pass the sunscreen.”
But a more exact hint at what I feel in the presence of the ocean might be found in this wonderful poem by Emily Dickinson…who somehow got it, even though she never actually saw the ocean:
As if the Sea should part /And show a further Sea –/And that — a further — and the Three /But a presumption be — Of Periods of Seas — /Unvisited of Shores — /Themselves the Verge of Seas to be — Eternity — is Those —