To the sea

Today I give you an essay, something that wanted to be written after a walk down to the sea. There is no textile connection in this post.

Asana and ants

Tuesday morninyg yoga asana practice, 6 am. I stand in downward facing dog, hips in the air, feet and hands on the floor, creating a triangular shape with my body. Upside down I look back at the garden fence behind me. I see something moving on top of the lower horizontal board of the fence, something shiny. I realize they are ants, scurrying along the board edge between the two neighbouring lawns. From a slit in the fence the ants are lit by the morning sun from behind. It creates a sweet backlight halo on their bodies. I smile and continue my practice. Every time in downward dog I see them again, still scurrying along the board, still with that soft backlight.

Ants scurrying back and forth between neighbouring lawns.

A couple of ants find their way up my feet. I can feel them, but let them be. They are welcome to join my movement. Perhaps they enjoy the flight as I lift my feet into new asanas.

Rituals and adventures

I am on vacation with my family on the east coast of southern Sweden. In this new place I need to find new ways and spaces to go through my morning ritual. The space I choose to roll out my yoga mat is a narrow stretch of wooden floor decking just outside the front door to the Airbnb flat we are renting. As I go through my practice I find new spots to rest my gaze in balancing poses. A crack in a brick, a twig on a board.

After some reading, freewriting and breakfast I pack a bag and start the half-hour walk to the sea. I smile as I walk through the little town, passing tightly spaced houses bound together with patches of roses, lavender and hollyhock. Not many people are out, just a few dog owners and bikers, silently rolling past me. We nod and say good morning, as morning people tend to do.

Eventhough I am in a new place, this is still my morning ritual. I still do the same things as I do at home. I practice my yoga asana, read a few pages squatting on the floor, write whatever wants to be written and go down to the waterfront. Only in a new town with new surroundings and different waters. At the same time I explore a place through those same rituals and feel a little adventurous in my search of how to marry my habitual pattern to spaces new to me.

Straight ahead

I come to a footbridge that stretches across a stream, binding the town and a summer cottage area together. Near the southern end bramble branches peek through the fence spaces. I wonder if the town citizens will pick the berries once they ripen in a couple of weeks.

Brambles nestling their way between the fence posts.

I pass a parking space with a single bread truck, hatch closed. A right and a left turn, then south. A straight and narrow paved road is my guide, edged by cottages of all shapes and sizes, wedged in between tall pines. As I squint at the pines I realize they could be strands of grass in a lawn and I one of those ants on the edge of the fence board.

The road feels soft beneath my shoes. Mindfully I place one foot in front of the other. The movement is slow but solidly forward, I can barely feel the moving of my center of gravity. After a while I hear it – first a swish and later a roar, from the sea. The salty smell becomes increasingly noticeable. In the corner of another parking space, white sand has run down onto the pavement. With two steps forwards and one step back I climb the dune, bare feet sinking deep into their own tracks.

The door to the sea

In one single moment the dusky pine forest cracks open and reveals the sea, vast and open. As I cross the ridge, the bright, yet subtle colours hit me to a degree that I nearly need to take a step back. Yet, I stand and take in the majestic sight, inhaling it with all my senses.

The endless sea spreads out like a blanket in front of me, rhythmically rolling its flaired edge to the beach. Somewhere in the other end of that blanket is Lithuania. The sand is soft and warm underneath my feet, but not too hot yet. My feet sink down and the sand yields to my step.

A dip

I get changed and walk slowly out into the sea. The waves meet me, greet me and present a new medium for my body to explore. The water is cold, perhaps 13 °C. The further I walk, the more powerful are the waves. At waist depth I stop, place my feet wide to prepare to meet and receive the striking forces. I stand and breathe, let the sea breathe me through its rolling rhythm. I smell the brackish water and allow it and my senses to have their way with me. All I can do is surrender to the moment.

After a few minutes I walk back slowly toward the beach. As I reach it I turn around, thank the sea for having me, get dressed and exit through the magic door at the ridge of the dune.

Lucky ducks who don’t need to remove the sand from their feet.

I spend several minutes trying, in vain of course, to remove the sand from feet and shoes. Is that even possible?

Sourdough surprise

As I walk back along the paved road the view is new. Not only because of the reversed direction of my path, but through the new experiences and sensations that have enriched it. I walk lighter, brighter, humbler and with new tingles in mind and body.

8:15. The bread hatch is open and three people have formed a line outside the truck. I buy four sourdough rolls to bring home to my family. As I walk back to the flat I feel the warmth of the rolls through the paper bag.

On the following morning walks to the sea I am accompanied by my family. When we get back home to Stockholm I smile at the sand still in my shoes.

Happy spinning!

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6 Replies to “To the sea”

  1. Thank you Josefin! Today has not been an easy one and I’m reading this before turning into bed for the night. This is a wonderful read for the end of my day and I feel lighter just reading it. I’m not too far from the Washington State Coast of the Pacific Ocean. Just an hour and half drive. I’m inspired to take that drive, maybe alone and just be! But, where you are sounds even more lovely!

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