As a kid I often stood in receding waters at the sand bars staring out at the straight line separating the Gulf of Mexico from the bleached blue sky.  Faded clouds, baked in the relentless heat, not even white, coloroless, lolled along in the distance.  At my feet the undertow drew me out hypnotically, pleasantly, ominously.

This is how my heart works. The waves crash in and I am enamored with the lip and the curl and power, but the balance of the action is the undertow sucking it all back down to the deeps.   I body surfed my son’s arrival.  Oceanic, blissful.  But I can’t escape that I am the person who then stands up in the surf, faces outward and feels the undertow drawing me back.  The undertow holds all the information of the wave, in the negative space.  It is the place where the wave was, empty and full at the same time.  It is the photograph’s negative, the yin’s yang.  I go to the deep blue to make sense of what has happened along the shore. More than most, I am able to withstand the undertow, make sense of it, feel it as fully as I feel the wave breaking.  As I have awakened to myself I have learned that this where I am nourished and where I find the deeper edges of myself. To anyone with me I look like I am withdrawing, but the wheel of the ocean rolls like any other wheel.  You might make up that I am simply swimming away, but that which strives with the undertow comes back fully itself and beautiful and ready to rise with the tide.

technical note: I am working on improving the shoddy quality of the photo uploads to wordpress. Hopefully you will start to see an improvement in sharpness.

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3 Responses to Undertow

  1. Kathleen says:

    After seeing you with your tiny son, I wanted to come back to this post. Beautiful.

  2. Stephen L. Parkhurst says:

    I like this.

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