Molasses Creek, a wonderful group of musicians from Ocracoke, NC, sings in one of their songs, “My soul is in that water.” Mine too. In the water, with white-capped waves cresting over tidal pools and rippling sand. In the water, with whales coming close to shore. In the water, with sea beings too small for the naked eye to see.
My soul is in the air, in the cry of gulls streaming in black and white ribbons parted in the night by the ferry’s bow, in the ochre sunset over the sound, in the fragrance of the sea breeze wafting across the marsh.
My soul is in the earth, in the rich marsh mud, alive with microscopic beings that herald the beginning of all life. In the earth that is sand that once was a mighty mountain, washed to the shore over eons of time. In the earth that sustains sea oats and many other plants that hold dunes in place against a raging storm.
My soul is in the fire, in the blaze of a glorious sunrise. In the driftwood fire on a winter’s night on the shore. In the spark of divinity that is us all.
When I think of gratitude (as most of us do this time of year), some of my first thoughts are for the beauty of the natural world around me. As I write this rain patters on brown leaves outside my window. The squirrels, so busy with their storing of nuts earlier today, are gone now, hidden in some wooded safe place with the birds, away from the rain. The gulls stand sentinel against the blowing spray, as the sea foams and froths.
Many years ago, a friend now long crossed-over wrote this line in a poem: “And learn to winter-appreciate before winter comes.” And I do.