Roaring Peace

Some years the sandy beaches of Capistrano have surrendered to rocks.  Rocks well worn by the power of the sea, that make a distinctive sound as the water recedes back toward the ocean. 

When I closed my eyes at the pool a couple of weeks ago, I recognized that sound in the leaves of the trees behind me being tickled by the wind.  It sounded like a distant applause.  Rocks clapping in the water; leaves clapping in the wind.  

This summer at Capistrano, we had more beach than rocks.  No distant applause greeted us, but for the first time I noticed just how loud the ocean’s waves were as they crashed on the shore.  Roaring loud enough to keep my youngest awake for a bit the first night we were there.  She described it in a way that took me right back to my childhood, when I too thought they were [unnecessarily] loud — a loudness that always faded to fondness by the end of vacation. But this time I recognized both the volume and the peace in the waves, a roaring peace.  It must have been such that the busyness of motherhood in years prior served as headphones that drowned out the ocean.  It may be that I wasn’t ready to hear what it had to tell me anyway.  


We’ve had many changes occur in the past 9 or so months.  Changes I wouldn’t have volunteered for if you showed me a booklet of what they entailed.  I might have taken them on given 5 years to complete them.  But it turns out that all this change was for a reason.  I’m not quite sure what the reason is though, or how to put it into words just yet, aside from what I feel in bits and pieces.  So far I like what I see, and so I just keep looking onward. 

In all of this change I have been trying very hard to be mindful of the lesson, to be open to whatever little bit of guidance is waiting to be received.  From friends, from family, from mother nature.  

One thing that I have been more and more aware of lately, is that change is inevitable and that nothing is forever.  That, even what feels steady and unchanging is actually changing in small increments each and every moment.  Like that tough phase of parenthood with my stubborn child … when it passes, I always have a slight setback in the realization that, “oh, you mean that phase doesn’t last forever?”.  It’s as if I mount some courageous defense against this child who, turns out, is just testing the waters a bit.  Meanwhile I prepared myself for an eternity of struggle.  So much wasted energy; if I could just learn to trust in the impermanence.  Nothing is forever.  Not the good stuff, nor the bad stuff.  It all morphs into something else.  Changes.  Goes away.  Comes back as something different.  Better.  Harder. 

Sitting in the morning coolness, the roaring waves attempted to drown out my thoughts.  But something persistent kept fueling my curiosity.  If nothing lasts forever, how is it that the waves never cease to crash, the sun and the moon never cease to rise, time never ceases to continue on?  Sure, the sun and moon change their positions slightly, but their task never goes undone.  The waves change in shape and size but they never end, they never stop crashing.

The answer did not come easy.  And so each morning I would rise, grab my coffee and my journal and sit as audience to the waves.  And I listened.

Why is it that when I finally begin to see the many ways in which nothing stays the same, am I presented with scenery that teaches me exactly the opposite?

Though she did not reveal the answer right away, Mother Nature did not lose my attention.  One night at the campfire, I saw the moon glow on the ocean; I noticed how it highlighted even the tiniest ripples, and how it made it appear as thought the moonlight was dancing on the water.  Every now and then the intensity of the moon-glow-reflection quickly amplified and made me think that something was glowing under the water.  It felt like a natural laser light display and I found myself holding my breath at times in anticipation.   

It reminded me of how watching a monarch butterfly in flight makes me feel.  As if my heart flutters in queue with its wing-flaps.  As if the butterfly and the wind work together to create a show that takes my breath away.

And of how I feel when I see the radiant sun’s rays shine so powerfully through the clouds that you can feel their collective warmth.  The sun needs the clouds to put on this kind of display, nature’s teamwork at its best. 

These things make my soul jump up in applause, like the uninhibited glee of a child.

“What is love?” the desert asked.

“Love is the falcon’s flight over your sands. Because for him, you are a green field, from which he always returns with game. He knows your rocks, your dunes, and your mountains, and you are generous to him.”

“The falcon’s beak carries bits of me, myself,” the desert said. “For years, I care for his game, feeding it with the little water that I have, and then I show him where the game is. And, one day, as I enjoy the fact that his game thrives on my surface, the falcon dives out of the sky, and takes away what I’ve created.” 

“But that’s why you created the game in the first place,” the boy answered. “To nourish the falcon. And the falcon then nourishes man. And, eventually, man will nourish your sands, where the game will once again flourish. That’s how the world goes.”

“So is that what love is?”

“Yes, that’s what love is. It’s what makes the game become the falcon, the falcon become man, and man, in turn, the desert. It’s what turns lead into gold, and makes the gold return to the earth.”  (The Alchemist, p152)


It requires two variables in my opinion.  The moon glow and the water’s ripples; the sun and the clouds; the breeze and the butterfly; the ocean and the shore; the water and the rocks; the wind in the leaves; the falcon’s flight over the desert; my husband’s embrace felt by my skin; my daughter’s freckles that dance on her nose; my daughter’s hearty laugh that makes her whole body wriggle. 

Love is what links change and impermanence to the everlasting.  It is what helps nourish us through it all.  The evolution of our spirits, and all that changes within us as a result of our unpredictable life circumstance is linked to the purest and most constant forms of existence by way of love.

The lesson was love. 

Happy 12th Anniversary to my husband, I love you.  

 © Houseman 2013