The voice of the sea
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” — Kate Chopin
The California Coast is wild and beautiful, rocky and cold, pounded relentlessly by crashing surf. Though much of it is not suitable for swimming, it’s as appealing to me — perhaps more — as if it was. No matter where I visit the sea, I find the same invitation to solitude that Chopin describes here.
I’ve noticed when I see people at the seashore together, I seldom see them talking with each other as they stroll along the water’s edge. Perhaps their voices would be lost in the auditory medley of surf, wind and gulls crying overhead. But I think it’s simply that no words are necessary, or adequate, when taking in the beauty of such settings. The solitude is pervasive even when we aren’t there alone.
Abysses of solitude and mazes of inward contemplation are indulgences, of course; few of us can afford much time by the sea, whether literally or only in our minds. But measured doses of it are healthy, even essential. Probably you can’t get away to the coast today, but you can take a brief mental respite in your imagination. To kick-start your visual daydreaming, enjoy a few minutes of this hour-long video of the California coast. If you don’t mind the silent promotional subtitles telling you where you can buy it, you can watch it for free.
One year ago today: