The cure for anything

A beach in Barbados, one of my favorite islands, March 2010.

A beach in Barbados, one of my favorite islands, March 2010.

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” —Isak Dinesen

The more I think about Dinesen’s quote, the more true it seems.  Not that I’m fond of sweat or tears, but I have lived long enough to know that both are usually beneficial, no matter how unwelcome.  But the sea?  Now that’s my kind of cure.

There’s no place on earth where I more easily forget what time it is, where I slip so quickly into some alternate reality in which nothing that seemed important before can interest me more than wondering what might wash up with the very next wave.  Heedless of the ticking clock, of gradual sunburn or the endless to-do list waiting for me at home, I usually have to be dragged away by some practical companion (and we all know who he is) who realizes when not enough is too much.

I don’t even swim well, and rarely go more than ankle-deep into the waves, but I could walk along the shoreline for hours and never tire of it, or lie basking in the sun’s glow, with a soft breeze keeping me cool enough to want to stay just one more hour.

Once when I was very young, my sister showed me how you could hold a large shell up to your ear and hear the sound of the ocean.  I don’t even need the shell to do that anymore.  I can just close my eyes for a few seconds and be there in my imagination.  Try it — and take the cure!

A special thanks:

Today is my 200th daily post.  Over six months ago I wondered how I would survive all the bad news we were getting, but this blog has been crucial to my ability to keep coping with everything we have dealt with and will be dealing with in the months to come.  I am so grateful for our shared awareness of how many reasons we have to be thankful. 

Thanks so much to all readers for your kinds words, prayers, comments, and visits here.  You are a blessing to us!

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    What a gorgeous photo!
    Love the Dinesen quote, too!
    I agree about the sea. I am not particularly fond of lakes and ponds, and rivers have a different appeal, but oceans are amazing. I can become enchanted by just watching the waves come in, too. I love to discover coquinas in the sand – they are so fun to watch!

    • I never heard the term “coquina” before but I looked it up, and yes, I like them too, ever since seeing the fascinating fortress built from them in Saint Augustine, Florida. I wrote about the Castillo de San Marcos in this post.

      • Judy from Pennsylvania

        Thanks Julia for my leaning something new at the beginning of this new day! I’m up since 3AM giving medicine and comforting our old dog Millie, who’s having an allergy attack from too much pollen on the grass. Her ears get red inside and so itchy that she gets frantic. Did Pasha ever have that?

        • Oh Judy, I am sorry poor Millie is having allergies! We were very lucky to have the world’s most maintenance-free dog in Pasha. Nothing at all seemed to bother him, though he did have something that seemed suspiciously close to a seizure once while we were away, and was on medication for awhile because of that. But he loved being outside in all weathers (except extreme heat) and never, as far as we could tell, was affected by pollen or anything else. When I was researching breeds to choose one that would be patient and safe with Matt (in case Matt accidentally grabbed or stepped on the dog in a way that might have provoked it) one breeder of Schipperkes said they were a “wash and wear dog” and after living with Pasha awhile, I understood what he meant. No grooming every required, either.

      • Wow! I never knew about that fortress in St. Augustine. What an interesting concept. “Next time” I drive down the coast from New Hampshire to Florida, I’ll have to stop and see it. 😁

        • I don’t know how much it may have changed in the well more than 50 years since I saw it, but then, it was quite fascinating and well worth a visit. Actually it was the highlight of my first-ever trip to Florida.

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