Sunday, August 23, 2009


The Wonder Remains

When I was little a trip to the beach could be totally wrecked by a storm. We frolicked in palpable dread of grey, gathering clouds, knowing how easily they could signal the awful piercing trill of the lifeguard’s whistle, slicing through the salty winds like a carving knife, cutting all our fun to ribbons. One crack of thunder and we would be herded inside like a pack of sad puppies - our lips red from cherry snow cones, our fingertips wrinkled from seawater - back into our chilled hotel rooms to sit forlornly at the windows and lament the gross unfairness of our fate. The risk of being zapped into oblivion by a lightning strike seemed far preferable to the dismal reality of peeling off of a clingy wet bathing suit in an air-conditioned room, doomed to a beachless afternoon. For a child who had dreamed of the sea for eleven long months, being at the beach, but not on the beach, was hideously hard to endure.

Naturally, adulthood brings many changes. Retreating to bed early is no longer a punishment, vegetables are not the suspicious oddities they once were. Unlike my childhood self, I now appreciate the benefits of sunblock, I do not mind wearing a hat, and I long for a storm at the beach.
Comfortably situated on a wide covered porch with my eyes fixed upon that mysterious line where leaden sky meets turbulent sea, I have so often found a histrionic thunderstorm to be the perfect author of magical thought. Colours sprout and spawn with every crash of a storm-tossed sea, ideas bloom like wildflowers and twine like ivy, all through the hallways of my mind - rainbows swirling, dervishes awhirl - more so with every roaring wave, every howling wind. The sea is a masterpiece when calm, but an astonishment during a storm. It is simple to understand why so many words have been written beside the sea - so many paintings painted, so many souls examined.

Yes, I head to the beach with quite different intentions than I did in my little girl years. I read, I nap, I think, I write, I stare out to sea and dream. The snow cones may be gone, but the wonder remains. I am heading to the beach next week and am putting in my humble request now for a big, fat, thunderstorm!

Thunderstorms

My mind has thunderstorms,
That brood for heavy hours:
Until they rain me words,

My thoughts are drooping flowers
And sulking, silent birds.

Yet come, dark thunderstorms,
And brood your heavy hours;
For when you rain me words,
My thoughts are dancing flowers
And joyful singing birds.

by William Henry Davies

76 comments:

  1. Pamela this is so beautiful. You posses such a talent for words it is truly impressive. I have such great memories of the beach & although I'm not far from it here, it just isn't the same. I am use to rocky beaches with surrounding trees and hills. I know you will have a fabulous time next week, with our without your cherry snow cones ~ I'm asking for a few storms your way for next week!
    Happiest of weekends to you & your lovely Edward Xx

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  2. Poetic, and so true, my story as well. Enjoy your revels. G

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  3. My same sentiments. We are headed to the ocean later today for the weekend-with very high waves expected-and we are right on a cliff. I'm very excited. We will be safely tucked in with books and games and with the hopes that the sun will appear later Saturday or Sunday. I share your joy. Have a wonderful time by the sea~ by the sea~ by the beautiful sea...

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  4. I used to work on the West coast of Vancouver Island, where one resort started "storm watching" as part of a new marketing ploy to get people out there during the low season. It worked, helped by the fact that all the resorts rooms have a sea view, so the guests could watch the Pacific rushing over the black rocks.

    Wonderful post. Brought Tofino life back to me again.

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  5. We are having a nice thunderstorm right now as I am writing this. I love the beach (and we live close to one) in the sunshine, but I really, really love it when the weather is blustery, the wind is strong and the waves are crashing. There's nothing more invigorating to me! Have fun at the beach!! :) Silke

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  6. Thank you for visiting and joining my little band of followers. I love your stormy beach.We often get wild weather here and feel the full force of it from our perch above the cliffs. Your dog looks to be a great character.

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  7. Pamela, how beautiful. We had a tremendous thunder storm here last evening.To Purest Green, I was in Tofino years ago and experienced the most amazing weather conditions. Unforgettable. And what a gorgeous part of the world. Pamela, have a great time at the beach.

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  8. I love the ocean and I like a nice gentle rain. This is a beautiful poem! I love poetry....it speaks to my heart. Thank you!

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  9. Beautiful!
    I love thunderstorms, but we hardly ever get any.
    Enjoy your time at the sea x

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  10. Yes the wonder remains for me too. Butterflies in my tum at the thought of a trip to the beach. Beautiful evocative words, Pamela.

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  11. This is lovely. If I tried to write like you do, it would come across affected and stilted, I think. You carry off the poetic and lyrical with grace! I love your post. I really felt that about taking off the wet swimsuit!

    xo

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  12. mmmm, I can see why you would love a storm at the beach, and I don't mind one, but I much prefer the warm sunny beach!

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  13. Beautiful words. I love your writing Pamela. I love the sea and spent a lot of holidays as a child visiting a small village, near the Cornish coast.
    I think it is wonderful when the sea is wild with huge waves!
    Have a great weekend.
    Jo May.

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  14. Beautiful as always
    Pam
    Love all you post......

    Love is here to bring us shelter and to remind us we are never alone
    Flavia

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  15. Hello P&E,

    Looks like you've been visited by some of those 'joyful singing birds'. Enjoy the beach and I hope you get a thunderstorm, if that's what you really want!

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  16. Oh you make me yearn more than ever for those delicious days at the beach! I do so miss them. They call me of late. Enjoy your wonderful time at the beach - I'm wishing for a big fat thunderstorm for you too!!! Namaste, Sarah

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  17. There is something profoundly magnetic about the sea. I also love English maritime paintings and the lure of an ancient light house.

    I hope you have a lovely time on your holiday and get that hypnotic storm you long for. We were blessed with a fantastic one this year on our trip.

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  18. I am a fervent WHDavies fan Pamela and love that one. Have a lovely time at the sea - hope Edward and Apple are going too, I am sure they will love a frolic in the surf.

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  19. You said you come to my blog for inspiration...I come to yours for inspiration too. I thought it was interesting that you originally planned to blog about design but ended up going down a different path - exploring the beauty of the written word, the beauty of art, and how the two meet.

    I rarely went to the beach as a child, but the beach was an integral part of my husband's life growing up as his grandparents bought a beach house in California for the family to use; from my first visit there, it has captured my heart and there is truly no other place I would rather visit (makes vacations quite reasonable!). When my mother was at the end of her life, we took her out there, and it gave her such peace to escape from the pains of her cancer. I think of her now every time I go out there, so it has become a place for me that has so many wonderful associations - the beginning of my life with my husband; our time together before children; our lives with our children; my time with my mother at the end of her life; and in the future, I am sure it will continue to be a place that will evolve in meaning.

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  20. I could but wonder which Southern USA beach you will be going to. I grew up 80 miles from the Mississippi coast, but never saw it until I was in my twenties. It was all human-made, you know, and Katrina blew the sand away. Here in Oregon, the weather is similar to where you went as a child--Scotland, I assume. It is heaven when it's heaven, but five minutes later, it can be a world uninhabitable by humans.

    The poem reminds me, in spirit, of Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud."

    Maybe you enjoy the beach, whether you go to the white sands of Florida or the heavy seas of North Carolina.

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  21. I admire your writing very much but I do not share your love of thunderstorms. My husband's house was hit by a lightening strike when he was little and he had to be rehoused because the damage was so severe.

    If Edward is anything like Ted he will be hiding under the table or sitting on your lap!

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  22. As I child I hated thunder storms..as an adult with a dog that used to run for miles at the first rumble the human ear couldn't hear, I used to dread them....now I am in awe of them...i hope your storm finds you and you have a wonderful time looking at the sea....your words are beautiful by the way!! x

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  23. (Sigh) I so love your blog (another big sigh) it is ethereal and makes my shoulders go limp and a sigh a big sigh. Thank you.

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  24. My children can't understand why I just sit in a chair under an umbrella when we go to the beach. To me, it's such a treat.
    I can imagine a thunderstorm on the beach would be a beautiful event to experience. Enjoy your trip to the beach. I hope there will be a thunderstorm for you to enjoy!

    xo
    Brooke

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  25. I am going to Norfolk this coming weekend . . . perhaps a nicely thunderous storm? Your words really do conjure up the image.

    (And isn't it funny how the things that we hate as children sometimes become the things we love as adults? Like going to bed, for instance, which is what I really should be doing right now!)

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  26. Lovely. Have a good time at the beach. I hope you get your storm.

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  27. Oooh, I love thunderstorms too! By the sea or in the hills, they are dramatic and inspiring.

    I remember my Dad telling me that when he was out on the hills when it thundered, he would take off his metal-studded hiking boots and lie flat on the ground so as to minimize the risk of being struck by lightning.

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  28. I always hope for at least one thunderstorm at the beach. I hope it will be cool enough for you to wear a coat. Do you have a wardrobe of raincoats too? I love raingear, but sadly I don't need it here very often. Have you noticed that I don't seem to like much about my town? Ha!
    Catherine

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  29. Hi Pamela,

    I loved reading your story.
    You write so beautifully and I did enjoy hearing about your times at the seaside, as a little girl.
    I love the beach too and it is always has such a calming and uplifting influence.
    Have a wonderful time at the seaside.

    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  30. Oh my, I like your amazing, nice & gorgeous blog!

    Regards from Agneta in Sweden o;)

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  31. Wonderful Pamela! Hope you have a stormy time!

    I'm lucky enough to also be able to lie in my cosy bed and listen to the stormy sea. There's nothing quite so comforting!

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  32. I love bathing in the sea after a storm as a little of the turbulent vibrant feeling remains in the water. The waves are rougher and you can feel truely alive in the challenge of overcoming them then relaxing in their strength as they toss you towards the shore. Wonderful descriptions Pamela.

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  33. What absolutely wonderful words - not sure about the thunder storms as I'm a bit wary of them but I love the beach in winter. One of my happiest memories is of a walk on New Year's day along an ice cold beach - we'd seemed to walk for hours before returning to the car tingling with cold and yet so exhilarated and happy. Like you my expectations of the beach are so different from when a child, now I sit and read or write, watch the tides and stare out to the horizon, walk and walk whilst letting my thoughts run and just feel how great it all is:)

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  34. I would like you to know that your site brings smiles of love of your animals especially Your Lovely huge White fluffy puppy. We used to have one very simular to him. Her name was Sunshine and she brought us many happy years of joy. She has since crossed over the rainbow bridge. I will visit here often. Please come visit me.

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  35. I think you have it right: a storm at the beach is a magnificent thing. You would most likely love the Oregon coast, where for much of the year the weather broods and threatens. Perfect to read by, and perfect for gazing out the window. And when it clears up, it's just glorious.

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  36. I have to agree with the view of the Oregon Coast. I used to live in Newport with an excellent view of the waves and beaches but now I am inland about 6 miles. I miss the view but the weather is quite nice here. Less wind and warmer temps. I guess you have to give up one for the other.

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  37. I have to argee with the view of the storms on the Oregon coast. I now live inland about 6 miles from Newport Oregon and miss the view but the climate here is milder and warmer. I guess we can't have it all. The drive is short though and I don't mind.

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  38. What a wonderful story! Where do you find alll those words? Beautiful!

    Greet

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  39. Balm for the soul. Your words...we need a book.
    And my guess...is you may indeed have a wonderful thought and word provoking storm as you head to the beach this next week!

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  40. Exquisite words on thunderstorms and the sea side beach, Pamela.

    I enjoy watching the lightning during thunderstorms, and the ones I saw last Thursday evening were spectacular. There was wind-whipped rain moving sideways in sheeted layers. A new phenomena I hadn't seen before. Unfortunately this particular storm brought a tornado through Vaughan and Maple north of where I live near Lake Ontario.

    When I was little my grandmother told me the story behind thunderstorms: Thor was to deliver water barrels to his brother across the sky. As he drove his horses the sound of their shoes and the turning of the wagon wheels caused the thunder we heard below. The lightning bolts were from the sparks Thor made when one of the horse's threw a shoe, and he had to hammer one back on. To make up the time he spent fixing the horse's shoe, Thor would make the horses hurry causing the water to slosh over the tops of the barrles and it would fall below.

    I use that story to calm the fears of younger children, as it did me many years ago.

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  41. Pamela, Your words always melt my heart like butter. Very beautiful!xoxo

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  42. :)
    Just yesterday evening there was a beautiful storm here, and as I looked up at the clouds I was reminded of your post. No sea met the leaden sky at the horizon though,rather a glorious orange sunset later did!

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  43. I feel the same - thunderstorms at the beach are one of my all-time favorite experiences. The combination of wind, waves and violent lightening is truly exhilarating. I wish thunderstorms for you as well.

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  44. Beautiful words... Thank you as well for coming by Ada & Darcy!! x

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  45. We seem to pay even more attention to safety these days than we did then. You at least realised what you were missing. I'm not sure the kids do today.- Superbly written post, by the way!

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  46. Beautiful story, Pamela. Made me remember my own childhood beach vacations... sand in everything (including our morning oatmeal!), the sticky heat and inevitable sunburn, fishing off the pier and feasting on a million tiny snapper, picking through the box at the general store to find the perfect shell ring. Now that I'm *ahem* older, I prefer the beach when the weather is cooler and the crowds are back to work. I don't even have to be ON the beach, just able to see it and the ocean from a comfy reading chair in the shade.

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  47. How enticing and inspiring. Perhaps I too should search out a stormy beach. I feel that way about the rain - bring more please, even the sound is restful.

    I adore, "Retreating to bed early is no longer a punishment", how true! nowadays it's a luxury, a sweet one.

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  48. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yep, the tornado season can by pretty scarey. We do have an excellent early warning system though. I have spent plenty of evenings in my neighbors shelter, I'll tell you. Loved your post! I will have to read over it again.
    Denise

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  49. love your blog. :-)

    i especially like the poem, thunderstorms. beautiful imagery. mixes well with the thunder & lightning storms we've had in my neck of the woods this week.

    peace to you...

    --hw

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  50. have a wonderful time at the seaside! I love thunderstorms over water...

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  51. Such beautiful expression Pamela. I feel I want to go to the sea right now...impossible though. I agree about the thunderstorms. I love violent and prolonged thunderstorms, especially at night. I love cloudy skies and crazy winds too. I hope you had some wild weather at the seaside.

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  52. I do love a good thunderstorm too! As usual you have expressed this feeling so well...your words are poetry!

    BTW...I've been trying to figure out how to become a follower with a picture...:)

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  53. P & E
    move to s. florida and you wish for a thunderstorm will come true daily!

    xxx

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!