Father, son and the holy coast

So maybe I’m pushing the envelope on appropriateness for post titles – but I just can’t resist a good pun!

One step at a time

Today was my day to spend with my dad. I had been expecting to focus in on some future-progressing tasks, like working on some permaculture design reading/curriculum development, or recording some sample voice overs with readings from Harry Potter and/or The Notebook, but when my dad said he had a few hours, and was thinking of heading to the cottage in Kennebunkport, there was no way I could say no.

Goose Rocks

There are certain places on earth that seem to me to be there to remind us of what’s important in life. Places where memories seem to stick, and time seems to relinquish its hold. Goose Rocks is precisely this place for me and my family.

Closed up for the winter

In permaculture, there’s a lot of talk about edges and margins – the place where things come together, and how important they are. This seems to apply so much in life, and it seemed appropriate to be thinking of these things while skirting the coastline, seeing the ocean tirelessly shifting the topography of the beach.

Ocean and snow

There’s a protected salt marsh in back of our house where deer roam freely in the summer time, and cranes swoop down to scoop up fish from the tributaries that snake their way through the reeds and cattails. The salt marsh – the meeting of fresh and salt water habitats – is the embodiment of an “edge” environment: a meeting of two worlds that is in constant dialogue and exchange. The salt marsh in many ways defines the two environments that straddle it – without it, the land and the sea could not coexist, would not learn from one another. They would either overrun each other, or simply have to occupy wholly different spaces with some gap in between.


What I love about the salt marsh at Goose Rocks is that, despite the dynamic intensity that it represents ecologically, it is such a place of peace to be in and to look upon. This, it seems to me, is where nature learns. Far back in the forest, life goes on quietly, with more stability and expectations set. The edge is where things change, and where systems grow and emerge with new offerings.

Long shadows, me and dad

I think that may be why I feel drawn to the coast – to the meeting of land and water – whenever I feel on an edge in my own life. It is nice to feel that there is a purpose to such things: that there is growth that comes from the observation of change, and the decisions that they inspire. The edges are there to remind us that we are alive, and that we, ourselves, are always changing. Time moves forward, and as it does, another wave reaches forth with foamy fingers to nudge a grain of sand, to flip a shell, to drop a piece of glass smoothed by the sea.

Sunset over the boats

We are lucky to live in a world with edges: a world where the sun sets behind the horizon, and makes its mysterious journey to the other end of the sky. Yoga has helped teach me to sit on those edges, that I might come to know their purpose, knowing that at some point, every pose must come to an end. All that remains is the truth of change, and of being the change we wish to be. That is a journey I believe best charted by the heart – with each opening and closing, with each beat. One, two. In, out. Land and sea.

With my heart’s compass set in the direction of my desires,

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One Response to Father, son and the holy coast

  1. Rosanne Cook says:

    David, I don’t know if you’ll get this as I am looking at an older post, but I found this post about Goose Rocks profoundly moving. Everything – the vividness of the images, your beautiful thoughts and words, knowing it was a time that you and your dad/my brother had alone together – I can’t thank you enough for this.

    I have also read your first posts from Israel and hope the trip turns out to be more than a grand shopping trip. I’m sure if there is meaning to be had, you’ll discover – or create – it.

    Love, Aunt Rosanne

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