Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Rocks . . .

. . . but in a good way.

Yesterday afternoon I explored the rock platform at the southern end of Town Beach, just below Swallows’ Ledge.

For as long as I can remember I've always enjoyed clambouring around rocks and rocky formations - whether they be lonely outcrops in the hills around my hometown of Gunnedah (right), or the coastal rock platforms of Port Macquarie, teeming with aquatic life. Oh, and did I say that Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my all-time favourite films?!

Three years ago - almost to the day - I spent an afternoon at the same spot on Town Beach. I wrote about that experience for The Wild Reed, and those words remain as true today as they did then. Here’s what I wrote:

I love the tidal zone of coastal areas. To some people they may appear as simply rocky and lifeless. But, in fact, tidal zones can be very colourful places, teeming with life. Whole worlds exist within the pools of water, wherein a myriad of fascinating lifeforms can be observed if one simply takes the time to sit quietly and watch.

And then one only has to look up from these worlds to observe the sweep and majesty of the sea! Seemingly, it’s another whole world entirely. And yet it’s amazing to me how the fleeting, fragile world of the rock pool co-exists, indeed, depends upon, the powerful surges of the ocean. As strange as it sounds, I find the natural rhythm of the sea’s ebb and flow very grounding.

And then there’s the following that I’ve shared more than once on these cyber pages. It’s from the homily I shared with the community of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis in January of 2006.

I long for a searching life ‘somewhere in between.’ Not a desperately searching life, but one filled with hope and the joy of pilgrimage, one that is respectful of honest doubts, one that is open to authentic relationships and to God in many worlds.

I hope one day to marry the man I love – and I have a dream of holding our marriage ceremony within the tidal zone of a beach, in that place ‘somewhere in between’ the land and the sea.

. . . [in so many ways] I believe we’re called to stand and live in the messy middle between polarizing extremes. Such an ‘in-between’ place is like a valley – green and fertile – that lies between the mountains of extremism. It’s not a place of indecision or lukewarm commitments. It’s not a place where ‘anything goes.’ Rather it’s a place where we allow our convictions and beliefs the opportunity to be informed and shaped by new insights born of our experiences and the experiences of others; a place where we get to discover the light of God in unexpected faces and places.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Summer Afternoon
Somewhere In Between
A Solitary Ramble
Rocky Beach
Bago Bluff
Climbing Barn Bluff
A Delightful Summer’s Afternoon . . . and a Moving Tale

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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