Wisdom from the Waves

Posted January 1, 2017 by Kerry McFall

In 2016, I’ve spent more time than ever before watching the waves lap the beaches of San Diego, and occasionally Marin County, waiting for wisdom from the sea.  Oblivious to my quest, the sea simply continued her task, dedicated to her own routine, teaching by example perhaps.  The sea, and all of nature, is endlessly changing and forever the same, nibbling away at the continents.  Breathe in deeply, breathe out fully, says the meditation tape.  The surf rolls in, the tide bubbles out.  It appears that nothing changes as you look out to the horizon, yet you know that everything changes in every teaspoon of sand and salt water with every wave on  the shore .

“Rainbow Surf”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

One day two  weeks ago, a pair of whales spouted every few minutes as they worked their way down to Mexico in a tide so low that I thought, “Tsunami?!”  It was the day of the waxing gibbous moon, the day of what is called the “spring tide”.  Spring tide has nothing to do with the season and everything to do with gravity as the moon, earth, and sun aligned themselves in some eternal pattern that our techno-centric society has essentially forgotten.  But luckily, we have squirreled “spring tide” away in Google, surrounded by its keywords and digital imagery.  If you see it happening before your eyes and wonder what you’re seeing… the tribal elders aren’t around to enlighten you, but Google is.  Google is now as ubiquitous as elders once were.  Elders… now there’s a sticky subject for me.  Which I will leave for another post, but I won’t attempt to unravel it on this New Year’s Day.

Today I stood on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, San Diego, watching the surf swirl below me and feeling it shake the pier.  Waves are very different when you’re above them, not waiting for them to get your feet wet.  My reward was a sudden chunk of rainbow that hovered above a big frothy wave as it curled inward on itself.  Magical.  Beautiful.  There were several in quick succession, but of course they were gone by the time I had my camera ready.  Dang.  There was only one thing to do – add the rainbow  to a painting!  Who needs a camera anyway?!  Here’s hoping for more chunks of rainbows in this coming year.