Reflection on Earth Day – The Miracle of Being Alive

Big swell at Rodeo Beach at high tide

I arrive at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands just before dusk, a familiar place that I have visited countless times. This time I come by myself, walking across the wooden bridge over the lagoon toward the ocean while other people head the other direction toward their cars.

This is that special time, when the last of the day is transitioning into night. I step off the bridge onto the rocky sand, ancient pebble remnants of radiolarian chert, serpentine and other minerals eroded from the cliffs in layers and deposited here. I am the only person on the beach and my time and physical travel journey begins.

My pace begins to slow and the sound of the waves grows louder. I fall naturally into a walking meditation, become conscious of each step that sinks into the loose sand. I head closer to the water, walking now on the hard-packed wet sand. Beneath me as I move down the beach are the rainbow colors of the pebbles, a crab claw, the smooth worn shells of unknown animals.

I am intimately familiar with this place, eying the waves and recognizing that it is high tide. I look down the beach toward the rocky point. By attuning myself to the rhythm of the wave cycles, I am able to walk around the point at the right time to the other side with dry feet. I wait for a break in the waves and head down the beach.

I watch the colors around me fade from my spot on the rocks. The sky is pink but all else is shifting into shades of gray. The waves are coming higher. I want to stay seated on this rock and join the journey of high tide cycling overnight to low tide, to be there for the whole thing. But I rouse myself to make it back around the point before it is completely dark.

It is time to remove my shoes and sink into the wet sand.

I am breathing with the earth now. The wet pebbles stick to my feet, and my skin and the beach merge. I move closer just below the high tide line and the feel of the cold Pacific is welcome on my skin.

I begin to sing with the music of the ocean, a song that wells up from a deep place of kinship with nature, a song that first came to me many years ago in the outdoors that I had forgotten still dwelled in me. A chant with the earth:

I will sing with the ocean
I will sing with the ocean
I will sing with the ocean
For the ocean sings to me

The melody repeats in rhythm with the ocean as the night sky darkens. I am bathed in moonlight as the words of the song continue—I will sing with the night sky, I will sing with the waves.

My voice becomes softer and then silent and then part of the sea itself. My feet have disappeared now and soon the boundaries of where I end and the earth begins have dissolved completely. I merge into the beach, the waves, all the creatures around me in the ocean. What was my body that was born on this planet has reformed into the force of life itself and then been reborn, immortal, as part of the living, breathing earth.


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