The voice of the sea

A Pacific coast view from Santa Cruz, California, August 2003

A Pacific coast view from Santa Cruz, California, August 2003

“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:

The cure for anything

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!
    I am chuckling to my self, reading your post today. Clearly you’ve never seen Patrick and me at the beach…. he rarely stops talking! Last night as we strolled along in Bradenton Beach, I actually thought how pleasant it would be to be there with any one of my quieter friends!
    I think I will mention to him the intangible (and indescribable) gift of walking silently along the beach! We’ll see if he can come to appreciate the abysses of …. well, maybe he can enjoy the music of the sea.

    • 😀 Susan, as often as I used to wish that Jeff would talk more, I have come to realize that I’m grateful he was able to share silence with me so often without any feeling of discomfort or distance. Some of us are just talkers, I guess. 😀

  2. mike

    We just got back from a couple of weeks on the Washington coast at the family cabin. The library there- Timberland-Westport branch is doing a month long emphasis on the beach using Kit Pearson book “The magic Boat.” Lots of activities for kids to do at the shore.

    • Mike, that sounds wonderful! Did going back make you homesick?

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