Ocean at Night

I listen to the sea
As it beats against the earth
My mind a soft resounding
No words
No words
No words

No words to make you hear
Unless you’ve heard before
Wide-mouthed waves devouring
The shore
The shore
The shore

The shore as mute as I
While the roaring ocean pens
Her prayer of ceaseless pounding
Amen
Amen
Amen

© Nichole Q. Perreault

‘Ocean at Night’ was written in response to a prompt in my poetry group, in which were to focus on onomatopoeia, which led me to thoughts like “How do you describe the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore to people who’ve never heard it before? Is there any description that does it justice?” My answer was this poem. 

Sunset on Treasure Island, FL. Photo by Nichole Q Perreault

 

CC Day 13 – Nature and Man

Good news! The Sequoias look big without a sip from Alice’s magic bottle! At first the forest looks like any other pine forest but then suddenly one finds herself among trees towering over 300 feet and as wide as 40 feet in diameter. Giant trees line the road in certain parts of Seqouia National Park, but walking among the groves is the best way to experience them. We visited the General Sherman tree and trail first. The General Sherman Tree is the largest living organism in the world and is an estimated 2,200 years old. While Jesus walked on the other side of the earth, this tree was just a sapling. Each year the Sherman tree grows the same amount of wood in an average 60 foot tree!

Did you know that Sequoia trees have bark as thick as 31 inches and are resistant to fire, chemicals, insects and fungi? They are vulnerable, however, to falling over because of their shallow root systems and lack of tap root. We actually walked through some trees that had fallen many years ago. One, in particular, the Fallen Monarch, was completely hollow on the inside and all that was left was a long, cylinder of bark. Truly, someone could have lived inside this tree. It certainly was bigger than the Ingalls’ sod house or shanty!

 Walking among the massive, chestnut colored tree trunks, filled me with a sense of quiet wonder. How I wish they could speak. I half expected one to bend over and whisper something in my ear. What a mysterious, magnificent creation we inhabit. We also visited the Grant Grove, which was our favorite of the two. There is much more freedom to walk in and among the trees there; this grove is also less busy and therefore a little quieter. The General Grant Tree is the widest of the Sequoias, at 40 ft. in diameter. The park has many other groves on and off trails, but we did not have time to visit those. I wish we could have stayed longer; I think I might have walked among the groves all afternoon and never grown tired of them.

We left the park and drove straight to Santa Monica Pier. The contrast between the quiet, peaceful trees and the lights, music and sounds of boardwalk amusement struck me immediately. The natural wonder and the man-made frenzy. Is one intrinsically better than the other? Or is that personal preference? Can all people benefit from time in nature? Or just some? Would people be more content if they spent more time appreciating God’s creation?

At about 7:45 pm, We all dipped our feet in the Pacific Ocean and felt some sort of accomplishment, I guess. We truly made it to the other side of the continent. I wish the weather had been nicer and then maybe we would have gone swimming or lingered on the beach; but the gray sky and cool temperatures made the experience somewhat anticlimactic. Perhaps because the experience was nothing at all like I had anticipated. Nonetheless, we made it!

We did a little shopping, rode the ferris wheel and then ate ice cream and funnel cake for dessert, or well, maybe it was dinner. A typical ending to our very atypical days on this wild adventure!

CC Day 12 – Confessions along US 1

Today we drove down the California coast on US 1. Unfortunately, we were plagued once again by the fog. I wish I could tell you that I was like Ma Ingalls, ever cheerful, never complaining, looking for the good in everything. But I wasn’t. Nope. Not at all. 

Most of you, unlike my poor family, have been spared the ugliness of my cranky side. Even if I don’t say a word, the intensity of my emotions can fill a room, let alone a four door sedan. Painful self-awareness of my crabbiness and the impact it has on those around me, along with feeling powerless to change anything, only makes me angrier. Doug tells me to trust God and I snip back that it has nothing to do with trust, but that I just don’t like what He (God) is doing at the time. Soooo mature.

As I stewed in the car, mile after mile, fuming at the fog that seemed to be almost mocking me (just a glimpse inside the head of Nichole), I contemplated my feelings. What was really bothering me? I realized that what I wanted most was to change the situation or at least to run away from it  – anything to stop feeling so miserable. But here I was, stuck on this drive and I couldn’t change a thing. Sounds a teensy bit like a control issue to me!

This last year, God has been revealing to me that my response to any situation I don’t like is to fight or to flee. If I am afraid, hurt, uncomfortable, angry…any situation where I feel something I don’t like…I either fight to change it or I run away. There is no middle ground. Apparently acceptance is not one of my strengths. Who would’ve thunk it? I can hear a question from one of Andre’s sermons, “Are you trying to deliver yourself or are you trusting God and waiting on his deliverance?” I love how God never abandons us to ourselves. How He continually calls us to a higher place by challenging us to go deeper in our relationship with him.

As the evening wore on, we drove up into the California hills and I apologized to my family for my bad attitude. I am so grateful for their love and understanding.

You should know that we did see some breathtaking views along US 1 along with a beach full of enormous, active and loud elephant seals. Did you know a male elephant seal can weigh up to 5,000 lbs.! In the spirit of Ma Ingalls, let me say that I have seen the sunny, bright view from US 1 countless times in movies and ads, but today was the only time I have ever seen the coastline covered in fog. In many spots, we rode beneath the fog, which covered the hill tops just above us in a misty blanket. Yet we could still see the cliffs, rocks, sand, surf, birds, roads, people, everything, in between the fog and water. The experience brought back childhood (and parenting) memories of playing beneath a fort made from blankets and living room furniture.

On the way to our hotel we watched an orange sun set over the golden hills and Ma Ingalls’ words kept coming to mind. “All’s well that ends well.”