A Letter to No-One in Particular

This week I’ve been on holiday in Tenby and I’ve been devouring Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”. It’s a sweet little book that easily fits in my trouser pocket and I’ve been leaning up against post, walls and benches with my head planted firmly between it’s pages. I love way letters read and It’s an art form I’d love to explore more in the future. I wrote this letter, not to anyone in particular, but hope that you, faceless reader, will enjoy it. 🙂

My Dear,

You might not deduce it from the places where I spend my time, but if I were allowed to select the aesthetic of my surroundings my first choice would be by the sea. As much as I love the city’s bustle, and the quiet wisdom of the woods, the ancientness of the sea will always be my first home and love.

Now it’s worth noting the difference here between the beach and the sea for, though one tends to follow the other, they remain vastly different.

The beach is a place for surfers and city dwellers to relax, to find pleasure and rest at the point where the fraying edge of metropolitan life meets the cool waters of the ocean.

A sea is an entirely different animal. Man has not tamed the sea, he has only learned to cohabit the earth with her. That is the first key difference: the beach is an “it”; the sea is a “she”. As C.S Lewis revered Aslan, so we revere the sea: she isn’t tame, but she is kind.

By the sea is a place for hardy black rocks, for docks with sailing boats; littered with spools of thick, green rope. The air here is seasoned, salty-sweet, and musky with the smell of fish and seaweed; which is one of the finest perfumes nature has ever devised. The sounds of seagulls and the mantra of waves hangs in the air like morning mist.

The morning mist is one thing I’ll mention. It hangs over the barren, blue horizon; I would compare it to the curtains that hang in a theatre. When the sun rises you may dart to the window expecting to gaze out at the edge of the world but, though it’s light outside, you remain blind to it. The sea, being an excellent showman, knows that just because the lights are on in the theatre does not entitle us to observe the stage until the moment when the players are ready and the show begins. Then, we may admire the edge of the Earth, where angels play hooky to skip stars on the water and pagan dreams have gone to die.

It is good to be by the sea again.

Brother Jack

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