Whatever we lose

A path to the beach on Captiva Island, Florida, January 2013

A path to the beach on Captiva Island, Florida, January 2013

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves that we find in the sea”
E. E. Cummings

I can scarcely remember a time when I went to the beach without these words from Cummings’ lovely poem running through my head.  How simply and perfectly he captures the endless allure of the ocean!

I feel fortunate to have lived within an easy drive to the ocean for most of the past thirty years.  But even when I cannot go there physically, the peace I have found at the seashore stays with me in memory.  Perhaps that’s why I so love gathering seashells and pebbles made smooth by the water.

If you are unable to get to a beach today, maybe you can take a few minutes to go there in your imagination, aided by free downloads like this one  or the one embedded below.  Lots of similar sounds and videos are available free online – happy beachcombing!


  1. My favorite place to be is the beach ~ it’s where I soothe my soul. I understand. ♥

  2. Chris

    Sometimes at night hearing the wind can be imagined as the sound of the restless ocean.
    Very soul soothing!

    • Yes, I love the sound of wind or rain at night — as long as the storm doesn’t get so fierce as to sound like a hurricane! When I was a child we had a screen porch with a metal roof and I used to love sitting out there and listening to the rain falling. Rainy or snowy weather is so cozy if you don’t have to get out in it! Thanks for visiting here and for your comment.

  3. Nancy

    Very timely, Jules. Boys and I just returned Friday at midnight from a week at Destin. Boys discovered they LOVE surfing! How is Jeff? Catch me up, please…

    • Hi Nance, I got your phone messages but unfortunately I have NO VOICE AT ALL right now because of laryngitis! I doubt you would even understand a phone message I left! I’ll try to forward you some emails I’ve sent to family lately. I can just picture your sons at the beach having a blast. Next time you all come to see us, we’ll have to plan trips to some of our nearby beaches.

      • Nancy

        I think we may plan trip to D.C. next year, Julia. It’s between D.C. and Grand Canyon. Boys want to come while Obama is still President. I really want them to see all the history in D.C.

        • D.C. would be a bit easier to get to, but you’ll probably need to do more advance planning; there’s so much to see that you’ll want to decide in advance and schedule things according to the best hours – of course, with kids you can never completely plan, but it helps to have an idea in advance. If you want to tour the White House, for example, you need to schedule that well before you come, for security reasons. They will love the museums also – lots for young people.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, I so hope that you’ve had some rest and that everyday sees strengthening for Jeff, just in his home environment. We spent 24 hours at WillowTree camping. Now we’re back home and the weekend seems a blur. I enjoyed your blog and the melodious ocean sounds. When I count my blessings I count you twice! Love,Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, you always cheer me with your words! Time really does blur when we’re having fun, and sometimes even when we’re not! The past few weeks have been a blur for us because time passes differently in hospitals; the normal hours don’t apply there. I do feel as if we are making incremental progress, and hope that getting Matt’s surgery behind us next week will give us a chance to catch our breath for a few days at least. Thanks for being here with us!

      • Sheila

        Oh, I’m so glad to know Matt’s surgery is scheduled and hope all goes well. You have indicated that Jeff continues to improve,too. Take time for yourself, although you seem to be a “wonder woman”. You are special to so many…. don’t ever forget that! Sheila

        • Thanks Sheila. I think we are making gradual progress although Jeff does get tired and discouraged (he seems so today). The next few days will be full of appointments, I’m going to be hitting the coffee and tea a lot, I bet! 🙂 We are so grateful for your encouragement!

  5. Jenelle

    At church this morning I told some friends that I need a beach fix. Bad. What a perfect post for such a need! Chris, it’s been very windy in the CA central valley and I know exactly what you mean about the wind through trees. Earlier in the week the sound of our aspen trees blowing reminded me of when waves roll up the shore. Thank you, Julia for the pics and video. Perfect timing 🙂

    • Jenelle, I’m so glad you liked them! When you said Aspen trees, it brought back memories for me of our years on the central coast of California, 1990-93. Our street was named “Aspen” although I’m not sure we actually had them nearby. But I do seem to remember seeing them in California, and I used to have a necklace made from a real Aspen leaf. Hope you get to the beach soon!

  6. It’s hard not to feel relaxed with the sound of the ocean, is it because it’s so reliable I wonder? I actually bought Mr B a white noise machine that has rain, thunder, ocean, birds in the forest and others. It’s like a little magic box. So glad you and Jeff were able to get to the beach in January, it looked awesome.

    • We have slept to the sounds of a white noise machine for years and really love it. I usually keep it tuned to the rain sounds (no thunder though) although the ocean sounds are nice too. I do think it’s partly the rhythms of it that make it so relaxing, but there’s also a magnitude and depth to the sound (for lack of a better word) that makes it mesmerizing. Add a few gulls in the distance and it’s the best “chill pill” I know of!


  1. Near the water’s edge | Defeat Despair

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