Intermittency–an impossible lesson for human beigns to learn. How can one learn to live through the ebb-tides of one’s existence? How can one learn to take the trough of the wave? It is easier to understand here on the beach, where the breathlessly still ebb-tides reveal another life below the level which mortals usually reach. In this crystalline moment of suspense, one has a sudden revelation of the secret kingdom at the bottom of the sea. Here in the shallow flats one finds, wading through warm ripples, great horse-conchs pivoting on a leg; white sand dollars, marble medallions engraved in the mud; and myriads of bright-colored cochina-clams, glistening in the foam, their shells opening and shutting like butterflies’ wings. So beautiful is the still hour of the sea’s withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea’s return when the encroaching waves pound upon the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.
Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid, each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.
Ann Morrow Lindbergh