Build a new house down by the sea
Get to the place we were meant to be
You’ll know it when you smile
— World Party, When the Rainbow Comes
Do you ever wonder why people are drawn to the seashore? Is it the taste of salt, or the sound of waves crashing on the beach? These are lovely things indeed. But I think it’s also the place where our world opens up to the universe, where the view is the same for us today as it was for some soul living 10,000 years ago. And so long as we don’t screw it up it will be the same 10,000 years hence. All rivers flow to the ocean, and so must we.
Ah, but what of the source? The rivers all flow from the highest points downward. And we often look up and wonder what we might find when we get there. For the mountains whisper differently than the sea, but no less persistently. When you walk amongst the peaks you feel like you might touch the sky, and the song in the wind feels as timeless as the crash of the ocean. Do we become breathless in the mountains from exertion or from awe? I should think both.
The thing is, we tend to be drawn to the edges; both source and sea. Yet most people settle in between. Is this a compromise between the places we love, or simply a pragmatic nod to efficiency? When you live at one end or the other you necessarily have a longer journey to the middle, let alone to what lies beyond. Crops don’t grow in beach sand or on granite summits. Somebody has to keep things going in the middle. Call it a happy medium if you will. But does settling in the middle like everyone else bring you happiness, or is it just settling?
Life pulls us in different directions, and most of us settle somewhere in the middle. But the magic resides at the edges of our comfort zone. And deep down you know you’ve reached the place you were meant to be when you smile.