Jersey Shore 2008

A week ago last Sunday, I let go of my regular day-to-day life and journeyed down to the shore again. Once I exited the Garden State Parkway, I opened my car windows wide to welcome the ocean breeze that greeted me as I got closer to the sea. As I turned down the road that would lead me to the beach, I felt all of the tension melt away as I inhaled the cool salty air. Once again, I was taken back to my origins and my inner self as I experienced a week of just “Being”.

Even though I had the perfect opportunity to sleep in, I rose every morning around 6am and had my tea out on the balcony. I listened to the songbirds greet the day and watched the terns and gulls as they wheeled across the sky. Constant was the gentle roar of the surf, a sound that spoke to the deepest parts of me as I watched the waves rise and fall.

I walked the beach every morning for about an hour before the beachgoers started to stake their claim on the sand. I passed fishermen sitting patiently next to their rows of poles and wide-eyed small children splash and dart at the water’s edge. I felt such a sense of calm envelop me as I placed one foot in front of the other and moved along the beach. As Eckhardt Tolle suggests in his books “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now”, I emptied my mind as best I could and immersed myself completely in that moment. It was challenging at first because my mind wanted to think about all of the issues in my life and what was going on. I pushed past those thoughts and kept bringing myself back to the feel of my feet against the sand and the rhythm of my breathing. I came to understand what Thich Nhat Hanh refers to when he suggests “walking meditation” as a good way to connect with yourself. Not only was I able to connect with myself but I also felt connected to everything else. This gave me such a great comfort.

I’m fascinated by waves and always have been since I was very young. There is something magical about the way they are created , how they rise and peak and then crash onto the shore. Studying the movement of waves has taught me of life cycles – gestation and birth: the rising up and creation of the wave, the period of a life: the wave at its full height and crest, and death: the falling down to earth and dissolution. The wave is absorbed back into the water to create another wave and this cycle keeps repeating itself. Just like our lives.

More shore pictures and musings to come…

Saturday Morning Tea on Sunday

Back to reality from my very relaxing trip down the Jersey Shore. I have this one more day of vacation, however, and I am going to savor every moment. I begin with a cup of one of my favorite China Oolongs called Bai Hao. Translating to mean “hairy crab”, I’m not sure why it’s called this but the leaf is rich and variegated.

After steeping in 180 degree water for 3 minutes, some of the leaves are still curled up and some have straightened to reveal their intact state.

The liquor is a buttery amber color with a sweet aroma. The taste is quite sweet with a fruitiness that lingers on the tongue. Many Chinese Oolongs that I’ve tried have a woodiness to their taste that I don’t really care for. I think it is probably connected to how long the leaf is oxidized. The darker leaves seem to produce that woody note. This tea, however, is light and fruity and very enjoyable.

It was an interesting experience to be away from my computer for a solid week. Of course, many vacations are taken with the intent of removing yourself from the busyness of your day to day life. If I had a laptop I probably would have brought it with me as there was internet access in the condo. I’m glad I didn’t though because it was a nice break from the electronic world and the distraction it so readily provides on a daily basis. For one week, my life was focused on walking on the beach, inhaling the salty air and listening to the sound of the waves. It gave me the opportunity to just “be” and listen to that voice deep within which sometimes gets drowned out by everything else in my life. I read and wrote in my journal a lot, too.

More on my Jersey Shore experience in the coming week…