Tuesday, May 22, 2012

patterns, rocks and the ocean

No, it was not a vacation although we tried to think of it as such. But one of those visits that a person simply must do. The aging father-in-law who won't even remember that we were there the next day. Except that he will have had that special moment--a break in his routine--a time of peace and safety--apart from the endlessness of his days. And we know we will have given him some happiness and done what we should.

So with considerable effort, we took him to the ocean. He had been a Navy man after all and later chose to live as near the sea as he could. Sure he could not leave the car. Could not even turn to watch the surfers catching the waves just off shore. But there was that timeless rhythm of the waves crashing against the rocks.

The endless promise of far horizons and distant islands that held memories of past visits. As he sat watching entranced by the motion of the waves, I was drawn to walk on the beach itself. I had to walk closer to the water. I had to get that moment of sustenance.

I simply must walk along these rocks. All the same size. Layered and arranged by waves of storms past.

Why am I drawn to these patterns? So many colors and variations. I want to hold and study each one of them.

Something so universal and calming. My eye focuses on the black rocks that seem to define the space.

I find the magic of this circle--was it the nest of an ocean going bird long abandoned? The play of a child? It was not made by happenstance. There is only one of them that I see. But it clearly is there. So many mysteries.

Soon it is time to turn back. The father-in-law needs to be returned to what is now his home. He tires easily and supper comes early these days. But still I feel comforted by the rhythm of the ocean. Soothed by the endless variations of these stones. Their seeming permanence and substance as stories become unspoken.  And since making quilts is what I do, I ponder the patterns of these stones and the piecing and stitching  of quilts. I wonder how I can capture this feeling in a quilt. Why are we so enchanted by these rocks? Why do they reassure me? What do you think? Does this ever happen to you?


  1. My sister and I are drawn to the shoers of Lake Michigan . . . the sound of the waves, the smell of the air, the vastness of the skies, the patterns in the sand, the beach grasses, the sea gulls . . . you are not alone in these fascinations.

    Lovely post - thank you for sharing it!

    1. Thanks. Yes, I have a feeling there is something almost universal in the ocean--not sure if we can define it, but also not sure that really matters.

  2. that is awesome that you could take your father in law out to the ocean. im sure it meant a lot to him if he could really know.

    1. Thanks Debbie. I am not sure he remembers it now but it did mean a lot to him and also us at the moment. Isn't that what matters most after all?