Three out of the last four years I have made a pilgrimage to gaze out onto the pacific ocean from rural Okitsu Beach in Chiba. It is not the most beautiful beach. It is not the sandiest. It does have its own quiet charm.
Having grown up in Florida I was surrounded by water, but I never fully appreciated how important the ocean was in my life. I was always near the water, but I never enjoyed the surf and sand. Now, having been so far from the land of my birth I truly know that part of my soul is made up of sand and salty water.
This time was rather interesting day. We arrived about 9 in the morning after a 2 hour drive from Tokyo. The sun was hot and blazing when I took a little walk as there was time before other friends arrived. This sleepy little port has a safe harbor that lets out into the ocean. About 10 minutes into the walk the shoreline was engulfed in fog. I had never seen fog in Japan before, and I was instantly transported back to my days on the California coast when there were more days with fog than without.
I climbed up a set of stone steps to a small fisherman shinto shrine and couldn’t make out the shore across the small stretch of water. This is when something caught my eye. At first glance I thought it was a small dog out in the morning air, but it didn’t move like a dog. In fact when it turned to scamper up the side of the hill I realized that it was a fawn with a small bushy white tail. We had out moment together on the hillside overlooking Okitsu beach.
The ocean calms my spirit. Just to be able to lookout over the rippling waves allows for my heart to be cleansed. Even with the petrol gurgling of the jet skis I was able to let go of much of the worries that would come back to haunt me that evening.
Even more cleansing than just sitting on the concrete steps gazing out to the horizon, was to be able to submerse myself in the salt water. The small lapping waves of the sandy section of the beach and the cold under currents of the pacific refreshed my soul as much as it did my sun soaked flesh.
The beach isn’t very long and can be walked at my island pace in matter of 20 or 30 minutes. My eyes peeled to the heavy grains of sand searching for bits of broken ceramics. I am still not really sure why there are so many pieces of pottery on this beach but from their smooth edges they have been tumbling in the water for quite some time. I even found what I first took to be a five yen coin. On closer inspection it was a bit of Japanese copper treasure. Most of the writing has been washed away, but just guessing that the coin is probably from the Edo Period ( 19th century).
I felt so cleansed by the time we left the beach. My soul was floating my body fatigued from being out in the sun, even though we were mainly under clouds and fog. Then I heard about the Trayvon Zimmerman case. I wasn’t actually surprised, but I was disheartened by some people calling for violence because of the verdict. On the other side Zimmerman was being idolized as a hero for killing an African teenaged American.
I started to spiral. Negative thoughts were entering into a space that I had just cleansed. I wonder why so many choose hate over love. Why are Americans so predisposed to accepting violence as a problem solving escapes my grasp. The feelings were growing I realized that it wasn’t only Zimmerman being found not guilty that was troubling. It was how Americans as a people are coming to a point were we cannot relate of empathize with each other. It is like waling backwards into the 1950s all over again.
There is so much trouble in the world, and I did let those troubled spirits into my soul. It is a constant battle to keep on the positive. To let go of the hate, the guilt, the pettiness that overwhelms so many of us. I am thankful that the most high has given me a way of dealing with my introspection. I am so thankful that I can express myself though the visual arts, and I challenge myself to put my heart out there for others. If anyone can relate to what I am struggling with, then I know the act of being introspective is proper.
I am thankful to all my friends and family who take the time to reach out to me. I appreciate the exchange of warmth and ideas. Even though we may feel alone I know that none of us truly are.
Listen to the sound of the sea. Let the salty air and water cleanse you. Make the time to be reflective, and together we can overpower the hate with love.