Engaging in the Exercise of Gentleness

Debert Beach , NS

“I have no power of miracle
other than the attainment of quiet happiness,
I have no tact except the exercise of gentleness.”

Oracle of Sumiyoshi, Shinto sage

These words came to mind the day a friend and I stopped at a beach neither of us had visited before. We had just finished a power shopping excursion for essentials, grabbed a to-go coffee and decided to enjoy it at the nearby beach.

We climbed over the little berm separating Cottage Lane and the turn-around where we parked the car. We literally exhaled in unison and with that a sound of delight escaped into the wind! How different this stretch of beach was to any of the others we had explored previously. The lush green expanse of grass before us was steadily swallowed by the sandy waters of the approaching tide.

We moved closer to the edge of the grass just beyond the rocky part of the beach. Our coffee securely placed in the sand and protected by a large driftwood log our phones came out and we made every effort to capture our surprise discovery from various angles.

Aware that the area would soon be under water with the rising tide we could not get enough of the cracked sandy soil. Such rich colour despite the overcast conditions and flat light. What a fantastic discovery! Forgotten was the coffee and the frozen foods we had picked up a few miles back. Our focus completely shifted and influenced by the calmness all around we lost all sense of time. We walked the beach, rugged on the inland side, and ever so gentle toward the water’s edge… Rocks of all sizes under foot we soon reached the historic dyke responsible for the lush farmland we had just navigated across by car to reach the shore. Immersed in nature with the absence of noise it is easy to lose track of time and forget every day responsibilities.

When I returned to the studio later that day I caught up on my daily inspirational reading and it was as if the author was at the beach with me. This passage from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo holds the words I was searching for: “In beautiful mystery, the extraordinary edge to everything is covered over with a current of speed and noise, the way beautiful stones are not quite seeable under the rush of the river’s face. Only when we can still the river of the world and the river in our face do things become extraordinary and clear.” We stilled the river of life for the moments at Debert Beach!

I will leave you pondering this gentle quote. Let it envelope you and bring you comfort. Warm wishes, Anna

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