In the recent 30th anniversary issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, I read an article titled “Why We Love the Ocean: The Psychology and Physiology Behind Our Attraction to the Water” by Catherine Schmitt. As the article suggests, “spending time near the water is good for our mental and physical health.” It even feeds our souls.
You could say that both the earth and humans are largely bodies of water, as both are about three-fourths wet stuff, so it makes sense that we would feel at home here. The article also states, “some people cannot stand to live away from the ocean, needing physical access to the sand, rocks, and surf.” That describes Linda and me.
As much as we loved living in the beautiful state of Tennessee, the one thing that was missing for us was the ocean. We simply could not get the New England coast out of our systems after our radical sabbatical of living on the island of Nantucket for a season. In the immortal words of Rachel Lyman Field’s poem “If Once You Have Slept on an Island”:
You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.
And when it comes to decorating our home, we’ve always loved the nautical motif, incorporating our fair share of ship and lighthouse décor. So suffice to say it is a dream come true for us to live within sight of the ocean itself. Just this morning, I sat with my coffee and pastry down by the harbor to greet the dawning of another coastal sunrise.
When I was a youngster we vacationed each year at the beach, whether Virginia Beach, VA; Wrightsville Beach, NC; or Myrtle Beach, SC; and I always wondered what it would be like to daily wake up to the sound of seagulls, smell the salty air, and watch the tide ebb. And now we get to do just that since simplifying our lives to live by the sea.
As Maine naturalist and author Rachel Carson writes: “Like the sea itself, the shore fascinates us who return to it….In the recurrent rhythms of tides and surf…there is the obvious attraction of movement and change and beauty.” Whether or not your dream is to live by the ocean, I strongly encourage you to simplify your life and live with less stuff in order to chase your dream lifestyle.