The feeling I get whenever I return to the coast is unmistakable. It’s a feeling of belonging. A feeling of home. Everything is clearer when I’m at the coast.
I stayed at the family beach house this weekend. It’s perfect when I feel like getting away. When I feel like thinking. When I feel like peace, quiet and clarity. I know it sounds crazy, but my back hurts less there. It really does.
I have been having some serious back issues lately. All the years of constant sport, in particular the indoor soccer goalkeeping, has caught up with me. My back is never free from pain. Though, I could not help but notice as I lay in the quiet house last night, that it was not sore. I mean, it was not perfect all day, but for at least half of it, I felt good. I felt more alive. Less pained. It was as if the sea has soothing powers. It was as if the sea thought if it took care of me I would stay a while. Maybe take care of it.
I also noticed, as I lay at ease on the surprisingly comfortable double bed in the guest room, that my head is so much clearer there. The thoughts flow freely. Processing thought is not a chore as it is in the city. Away from the sea I feel… almost heavy. As if I am not where I am meant to be. As if not being there is a burden. Somewhat suffocated. As if there is no space to think, or to comprehend.
And as my mind wandered freely, I gazed up at the picture that hung on the wall beside the bed. A picture I had admired so many times. This time though, I noticed something new about it. It had the feeling of home.
The picture depicts an oyster shed by a wharf. In the distance there are several boats floating on the ocean – yachts and rowboats. An orange Kombi is parked besides a jetty, where a couple sit, dangling their feet in the water and fishing. And I always stare at that simple picture with the same look. A Look I didn’t recognize in myself until last night. A look of longing. A look that feels like within that frame is home. That makes me feel like if I’m anywhere else, I’m lost.
And I realized… I have felt lost for a long time. Far too long.