Clearing My Head

There are some annoying and discouraging things happening in my life. Sometimes I amazed that at my age I can still be so upset about some things that people do that cause me pain. Let. It. Go. I tell myself and can feel the tension starting to release. Still agitated. Then I go to the beach.

I needed solitude, the wind, a large sky, the sound of the water lapping the shore and the sight of the winter ducks bobbing in the waves. Fortunately it is only a ten minute drive for me to the shore of the Long Island Sound.

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It was just what the doctor ordered. As I walked onto the beach I loved the contact of my sneakers with the wet sand and pebbles underfoot and the slight angle of the spit of land I was walking on.

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It was a little harder to walk on the pebbles and sand than at the park, but the challenge was what I needed to work out my angst and my knotted muscles.It was almost low tide so there were a lot of wet pebbles and shells to walk on.

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As I stepped forward I picked up my head and noticed what a beautiful S-shaped curve the beach made today. Every time I walk here this sand spit is shaped and reshaped by wind and water.

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Along the way I picked up a few objects as I often do. Although I am overly familiar with what the tide usually deposits along this shore, I nonetheless felt the need to scoop up a few nicely scallop-edged oyster shells (for which these waters were once famous), as well as a couple of pieces of beach glass which are a rare find these days. The tactile contact with these gifts from the sea helped to calm me.

Now and then I paused just to gaze at the seascape and take it all in. I needed those deep inhalations of sea air to clear my body of my personal toxic fumes. There was just enough of a breeze to feel the cleansing action of my breathing.

Overhead sea gulls were plentiful and very busy snapping at shellfish and dropping them from above in an effort to break open their shells. The sea gulls were quite noisy today providing a constant background of squawking and squealing which I found quite soothing in its familiarity.

Then suddenly, in the curve of the shore, I noticed them: a group of Brant floating at the shore’s edge. It hasn’t been a typical winter, warmer than usual as is the case mostly everywhere, so the usual winter ducks haven’t always been around. But the Brant were here today and they were close enough that I got to hear their honking sounds.

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I walked a bit further and turned back. The sun, wind, sand and water had done their job. My raw edges were softened a bit and I was able to sit and read for a while in the fading sunlight.

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barbara suter

I'm a retired teacher who enjoys writing and sharing in this; unique blogging community.

16 thoughts on “Clearing My Head”

    1. There was a beautiful piece in the NY Sunday Times about people who surf at Rockaway Beach throughout the winter. They must have that contact with raw nature to thrive. I hope you can find the piece…it also has some beautiful watercolor drawings.

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  1. There are people (Germans, Japanese) who believe in “forest bathing” for healing. I, too, feel that natural spaces exude an energy that replenishes us. From a very early age I took my two children (and husband) on nature walks every Sunday (instead of church). They have both become ardent conservationists and still treasure those walks. We come from nature need that connection throughout our lives to feel whole.

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  2. Sounds like you found the perfect spot to rejuvenate body and soul. With all that is going on in the world and our own lives is is important to have a place to go to flee the craziness and drama in our lives.

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  3. I love the beginning of the last sentence: “My raw edges were softened a bit ….” That give me that sense the rough edges are knocked off and that calm was able to prevail. It’s amazing how a good walk can do create that sense of peace. Our students (and our teachers) could benefit from something like that this, every day. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your word (and pictures!). 🙂

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  4. I agree that students (and teachers) should spend much more time in nature. I used to take my ENL kids for walks around the school property to learn the names of things and to help them develop their sensory awareness. I always wished I could do more with them . Thank you for your kind words.

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  5. You captured this perfectly. Perhaps this time of mass boredom for many people will lead them into the simple pleasures of being outdoors and appreciating nature without worrying about exotic adventures in far away places. And, with luck, bring their children along to learn the same simple joys.

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