My eldest cousin passed away this week, we hadn’t been in contact for many years but he was on my heart at Christmas and I sent him a card with a scrawl about my growing family, namely my three young grand-daughters. In a couple of days the eldest of these girls turns five and David’s passing in the same week reminds us that birth and death are the cornerstones of our lives, an inescapable cycle that all life participates in.
Because I have been beach walking, accompanied by the ocean tides, I am reminded of how this cycle is evident at all times all around us yet sometimes it slips from our conscious mind. Yet if we look for it we can see it in the push and pull of our everyday lives, in the ebb and flow of water, the opening and closing of a flower, the melting of a hail stone, the bare branches of a deciduous tree, its barrenness belying the quiet growth of the roots as the tree prepares for spring.
When I am walking at high tide I am energised by the ocean’s passion and strength as it hurls itself against the land mass with the same gusto a new born babe tests out its lungs. This tide brings deep water and white horses, waves that move sand, shells, seaweed and starfish around in a tumbled mess. On the mid-tide one moment these creatures are thrown around and the next they are lying like stranded castaways on the soft sand at my feet. The only movement the popping of air bubbles indicating where sand crabs and beach worms have burrowed. Such a tide is not unlike the way our own lives have moments of frenzied activity then quiet stagnation. On low-tide the ocean falls back leaving pools of still water, what were once jagged shoals become placid ponds where life suddenly appears in abundance and all is calm. Tiny blue periwinkles slither up underwater boulders, minnows dart amoung delicate foliage, frilly sea-cucumbers float beside the imperceptible swaying of an anemone. After the frenzy of the surge tide there is a richness to be found here, a wealth of history and timelessness on show. A fruition of all the activity that preceded it.
We are all participants in this cycle of life, fellow dancers skipping our way through the cosmos, sometimes its a foxtrot, sometimes its a waltz, but we all dance to the same orchestra, we experience shared moments, we walk together on this planet named Earth before we dissipate into who knows where. Like the air bubble that floated to the surface of my rock pool we pop into this world then vanish, disappearing into something greater, leaving behind us the indelible but dissolving image of a little hole in the water.