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!

This post was first 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! Thanks for sharing that line by Cummings; I hope to add it to my very short list of poem fragments that I immediately associate with certain fun activities.
    The other one (in that list) is Stevenson’s “How do you like to go up in a swing
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do.”
    I just love photos of paths to the sea. I take a LOT of them. Paths back to the parking lot … not so much!
    You certainly have been fortunate to spend time near the ocean! I think the desire to be near the sea is almost universal – this reminds me of Big Bird’s (potential) adopted family living in the alluringly named “Oceanview, Illinois” in the movie “Follow that Bird.”
    I hope that your day today is stellar, maybe even with a little sun and sand …?

    • Susan, I must admit to having TONS of poem fragments, among which is the very verse you quoted. I think of it each and every time I’m in a swing. Many of Stevenson’s lines are in my mental vault. Here’s another one from a different poet, in the vast storehouse of lines that play spontaneously in my head, courtesy of Emily Dickinson: “I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody too? Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell! They’d banish us, you know!” OK, that’s not a fragment. Really the whole thing plays in my head, including the second (last) verse: “How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog, To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog!” I’ve often thought of this poem in the whole context of blogging, and my longstanding reluctance/inhibition to go public with my thoughts.

      Ah yes, the old deceptive practices of naming places after wishful thinking, such as “Oceanview” and “Lakewood” and “Carriage Lane.” I supposed it’s understandable. Can you imagine “Vacant Lot Way” or “Urban Blight Place” or “Cell Phone Tower Street?”

      • Hahahaha I had to chuckle out loud at your creative street names! With an unfinished retaining wall along my driveway, living on “Sunset Trail” definitely distracts focus from reality!

        • Well, at least “Sunset Trail” has to be accurate…I mean, the sun sets everywhere, right? 😀

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