fragility and strength

Beach House Rodanthe,NC by pilz8 on Flickr

Beach House
Rodanthe,NC by pilz8 on Flickr

This picture blows me away.  I love the beach.  A breathtaking ocean view is, by it’s very nature, delightful, peaceful and soothing.  It can also be precarious, volatile, and fleeting.

How can anything be so simultaneously delicate and substantial?  I look at this house, and I see the peace and quiet I crave from the ocean.  I also see potential  storms and the question of weathering them.  It sounds dramatic, but this is the sort of house I yearn for.  It wouldn’t last, it’s hardly shelter, but every moment spent there would be a treasure.

The windows look as though you could see straight through the house, to the clear blue sky on the other side.   As battered and weathered as the house appears to be, I imagine the inside walls to be painted in a thin, faded whitewash.  Minimal and spare.  There would be a lot of light, which would change with the sun’s movement across the sky each day.  How sturdy could that foundation and  those stilts be?  How could it even be livable?  (but… note the wire to the left – could it be a power line – coming into the house from who knows where)  Look at the sky – imagine waking up in a room lit by morning sunlight streaming in, looking up at and out of those windows first thing.  Imagine the lightly pulsing, musical sound of  waves carrying you off to a drifting sleep at night.  There would be a constant rhythm to being in this house.  Living by the water has a metronome of it’s own, a cadence that informs every moment of every day.

One of my secret, sort of bucket list-ish goals in life, is to live on an island, by the water, for a year.  Long enough to witness a complete cycle of seasons and tides.  Long enough to write, to think and perhaps more importantly, to not think.  Long enough to experience  solitude – would that be healing, or would it jab at my head and heart?  Long enough to take a few pictures at the same time each day, and document the changes in light and air over the  year.  It’s a romantic wish, with sweaters and a hammock, stacks of books, maybe a fireplace, definitely a deck and an outdoor shower.  The tide, sun and rain and snow and wind.  Timeless, rhythmic island time.

This house is not the house for living out that wish.  This house, if it’s even habitable , is meant to be visited during late summer.  The water is finally warmed by the sun, the windows can be thrown open, and the breezes would be no different in the house or down the steps on the sand itself.
How perfect to feel the cool air on misty, foggy mornings, bask in the sun’s warmth during the days, and take a chilly, breezy beach walk on a starry night.  Late summer is the time for meteor showers.  Sweatshirts and shorts, beach bonfires, remembering the summer and anticipating the fall.  All from this house…

Despite my fantasizing, I realize this might well be the standing shell of a once wonderful summer home.  It was probably nestled behind sand dunes covered in beach grass, surrounded by other houses.  Behind a wider beach.  Perhaps a summer home for generations of one family?  There’s a life and a story inside the house, the story swept out to sea behind washed away dunes and neighboring houses.

Empty shells on the beach – who lived there before?   If you hold a shell up to your ear, can you hear the ocean?  How much longer until this shell is washed up on the shore?

I found this on photo on Tumblr, traced it to Pinterest, and to Flickr.

4 thoughts on “fragility and strength

  1. Oooh, I love the beach too… and I love that “not-think” state you can enter while just sitting there. We’re lucky enough to be able to visit Port Townsend, Washington about once a year and I treasure my time there. Lovely post!

  2. The film adaptation from Nicholas Sparks’ love story that takes place in this symbolic beach house between Richard Gere and Diane Lane (Nights in Rodanthe) is filled with the fragility and strength that you have so beautifully described. I, too, dream of living near the water someday to experience that peace and tranquility. The hubby and I recently spent a couple days in a vacation rental on the water’s edge, and I was in heaven enjoying the sights and sounds of the environment. Of course, I tried to capture a few sunrise pictures while we were there as well. 😉

    • Hi Deb R,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!
      Richard Gere and Diane Lane, huh? They are both so beautiful, it must be a gorgeous film just to look at! Does it have a very high sappy quotient?
      The North Carolina shore area is next on my family’s “hit list” of drivable beach/summer vacation spots. ,
      There’s a post about Cape Cod way back on this blog, if you are interested. (shameless plug, much?)
      Thanks for reading, I hope you come back soon.
      – Deb

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