Monday, July 23, 2012

Where The Forest Meets The Sea

Once upon a time, I stood at the edge of the world with my toes curled over the cliff and my arms spread open wide welcoming a new summer. The wind whipped around me, billowing my dress and sending my tangled hair in a million directions. I closed my eyes and took the deepest breath I could manage, filling my lungs to their fullest until I thought they'd burst like balloons. When I released the air, I let out all the toxic negativity weighing me down.

In that moment, I felt light and free.

The chains binding me to the girl I was supposed to be, the girl everyone wanted me to become, no longer existed. I didn't feel lost or broken, in need of being put back together, or soothed and loved. I didn't feel scared or hurt. For a few seconds, I simply existed. Me and the earth danced together. And nothing mattered. Not my family. Not the anger and pain waiting for me at home. Not my dissatisfaction with my homely self. And not even the troubles of the world.

I was twelve years old, but the memory remains impeccably clear.

It was a place where the woods were a stones throw from the beach. Behind me, trees peppered the cliff, growing thicker the further back you walked, but beneath the ledge water crashed upon white sand that was fit for an hourglass. The day was clear, save for a few puffy white clouds flecking the otherwise limitless blue sky, and birds floated on the breeze, hovering in place, appearing as if they weren't moving at all. Waves rolled in and out and the swooshing sound of the water caressing the beach brushed against my ears. The sea shook hands with the forest, their scents melding together to make the perfect concoction from the saltiness of the ocean and the sweet aroma wafting off the trees.

I was only there for a moment, a minute, before my parents called me back to the car, but whenever I find myself in a place where the forest meets the sea, that feeling of being free comes back to me. It comes without warning, unstoppable and knee-weakening.

I've made it clear how I feel about nature. I am a nymph of the forest, a siren of the sea. My ultimate goal is to fill my life with the sounds of the ocean and the smells of the damp earth after a summer thunderstorm, to sit on a porch and watch the seasons change. Whenever I am able to combine my two favourite places, forest and sea, I'm in my element, I am at ease. Contentment reigns. It matters not if the sky is grey, if raindrops dampen my clothes, or the sun scorches my exposed skin. The wind can howl. Thunder can clap. Lightning can fork the heavens. The sea can roar. But I find peace in simply being close to land and water. Think of the two things you love the most in the world, then put them together, then you are experiencing a bit of what I feel when I'm standing where the forest meets the sea.

This last weekend, I tasted the bliss that comes with being outside. And it's still as sweet as always. It was the first camping trip of the year, and it didn't disappoint.

First off, I'm an expert camper. Weather doesn't affect me. I don't complain about being cold or hungry, wet or sweaty. I know how to pack for all occasions. Breaking a nail digging up rocks on the beach isn't an issue. It doesn't bother me when my clothes are dirty, or my hair is a tangled mess of knots, or when sand is in every crack and crevice known to man. No, I like being filthy. (Both mind and body.) I love burning my feet because I'm sitting too close to the camp fire. I enjoy smelling of smoke and sweat, bundling up and hiding in the tent when it's raining. My trip isn't ruined if a tent leaks. And I don't even mind when someone hogs the bed and I'm left with a sliver of blanket on the cold tent floor for seven hours.

The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is being bitten a hundred times by bloody thirsty mosquitoes, but I don't even really complain about that, just scratch a lot as I enjoy the view.

Our location was this tiny island, tiny meaning that we were able to walk around the entire thing in a couple (five) hours on the Friday, that was only accessible by boat. It didn't even have any cars on it and that felt oddly perfect to me. Random wildlife was seen as well, like chipmunks, a raccoon, a heron, Canadian Geese and deer. Baby ones too! They frolicked and I watched with child amazement. I'm pretty sure I wore a goofy smile, but that's usually when I'm at my most charming anyhow.

For the first time in my life, I had a S'more. I know, I know, apparently, I had a very stunted childhood. Regardless, this thing of chocolate and marshmallow was a wonder in my mouth. I took it upon myself to heat my chocolate up on the grate over the fire as I roasted the 'mallows. Whoever invented this thing should be given a medal of some sort. My beef, I don't like the name, but the only thing I could come up to rename it was "chocolate graham crackery tasty thing". Doesn't exactly flow off the tongue. Don't worry, I was in fact mocked over the suggestion.

We, being my undeniably handsome camping buddy and his owner (just kidding, the hound is cute though), did some beach scavenging. Rocks and glass and shells were collected. Some treasures were stolen even though they belonged to the person who found them (me). And, on top of that, we made some beach art - a flower out of seashells and sand-smoothed glass. Well, the final design took a few tries to hammer out. At first it was just white shells and glass for petals, but then on a whim we changed the brown glass to the leaves and the green to the stem of the flower. Then, the white glass was shifted to the centre and muscle shells were utilized in creating an alternating petal pattern with the white. Complex stuff, right? I would have loved to have taken it with me. Unfortunately, it really wasn't possible. Next time I'm bringing crazy glue and making it a permanent beach fixture.

Isn't it funny how you can visit a place for the first time and still have a connection to it, like it's where you're supposed to be. Maybe not forever, but for the moment. It's like you're coming home. The forest and ocean welcome me. The more time I spend out of the city, the clearer my head becomes and I get to brush shoulders with the girl I'm supposed to be. Sometimes you do belong somewhere. And I just happen to belong amongst the trees, close to the waves crashing on the shore and a hop, skip and jump away from a field I can run through. 

They say when you know you know. And sometimes that's true.



Noelle Pierce said...

LOVE that flower. In fact, you should write something so I can use it on a book cover for you. :D

Tyson said...

I love it too! Maybe I will write something for it. ;)

Evie said...

Lovely. I could almost be jealous. EXCEPT you have mosquitoes all the way up there?

I'm not generally in favour of speciescide but in their case I would make an exception.

Tyson said...

Yes, it was either those or sand fleas. Blargh. :D

Exmoorjane said...

Beautiful. But, y'know, I wonder. Beach art is emphemeral by its moves with the tides. I wonder about sticking it down, about corralling it and taming it. :)

I've never had a s'more. Did I spell that right? xxx

Tyson said...

Indeed, I think you're right, Jane. I wouldn't actually glue it down. It was a spur of the moment thing. If it was preplanned it wouldn't have turned out so well.

And S'more. Yes.