~summer shorts~ mystical

With no great vacation prospects on the horizon, I used some of my paid time off in anticipation of changing contracts by consulting my tide chart. I picked a Monday with a negative tide at 7am, and my husband decided to take that day off, too. Suddenly it was almost like a real vacation!

Though the remainder of our day filled itself with comfortable, uneventful puttering, we headed out the door at 6 AM for the beach. We rounded the first headland shrouded in mist and a bald eagle appeared to emerge from it, perched on a large rock surveying the tidal flats.

We wandered along, closing the distance. The eagle was in no rush, but eventually decided to move north and took flight. We headed north more slowly, picking our way over the slick seaweed rainbow covering the rocky shore.

We climbed up the next headland, hoping to glimpse the eagle once more, and sure enough, it had landed in the lone tree on the next headland farther north, where its mate was also perched. A double date with eagles.

Rich turned out to be a lot more into tidepooling than I had expected, and we covered a lot of area that I don’t always manage to visit during my solo excursions. I think I’ll hang onto this adventure buddy of mine. Later that evening, reflecting on our morning in the revelatory fog, he decided the best word for it was mystical.

The dictionary definition of mystical talks of the contemplation of divine truths that are beyond the intellect, of surrendering to the absolute, which feels right for wandering off into the fog on the edge of everything and communing with eagles. It’s common knowledge to everyone who knows us that Rich and I go to church by walking around in nature. We go to nature to know the unknowable, we breathe in the electric salt air to better connect to the source, we peer into the briny crevices to saturate ourselves in wonder.

Jessie Van Eerden wrote, “The way I see it, a mystic takes a peek at God and then does her best to show the rest of us what she saw. She’ll use image-language, not discourse. Giving an image is the giving of gold, the biggest thing she’s got. Mysticism suggests direct union, divine revelation, taking a stab at the Unknown with images, cryptic or plain, sensible or sensory. A mystic casts out for an image in whatever is at her disposal and within reach like a practiced cook who can concoct a stew from the remaining carrots and a bruised potato, or like a musician improvising with buckets and wooden spoons. She does not circumvent; she hammers a line drive. A mystic is a kid finding kingdom in an ash heap.”

I hung on every word of this definition as I read the essay I am quoting from, then burst out laughing when I got to the kid finding kingdom in an ash heap. It recalls to mind the oft-told tale of my older brother and I spreading the contents of the ash buckets lined up in the cellar way from the wood furnace that heated our home, then padding up to our nine-months-pregnant mother with our sooty 2T clothes in our hands asking for our swimsuits, because, “we made a beach!”

nudibranch sighting 2020; i’ll leave this here beside the naked nudie story…

I may have always had a streak of mysticism, as well as a tendency to seek out the divine on a beach.

2 comments to ~summer shorts~ mystical

  • mamaC

    What a special tidepooling adventure! Beautiful to have your words and photos to tell about the experience. Nice nudibranch photo, too. (Can you find a David Bowie outfit that evokes it? lol)

    • LOL! Thank you for reminding me of that amazing meme… I feel like our Oregon coast nudibranchs are pretty tame for Bowie but I did find a solid orange outfit…. with orange hair! Nice to hear from you mama!

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