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Monday, 10 June 2013

The cure for anything

By Heidi Hamburg

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. ~Isak Dinesen

A long time ago I lived for a year beside a large lake in northern Manitoba. The lake was beautiful, and very peaceful. I was happy there.

Still, there was always something missing. The air was sweet and fresh, but there was no salt tang in it. There was no lift and fall of the tide, washing and changing everything, renewing all the edges twice a day. I never got used to that.

For most of my life I have lived at the edge of salt water. Even when it was the Arctic Ocean, and frozen much of the year, there was still the lift and renewal of the tides, the scent of salt at the edges of the ice.

Salt water plays a part in a great deal of my writing, a source of joy or tragedy or redemption. Sometimes it’s far back in a character’s story, sometimes it’s almost a character itself, but it’s nearly always there.


Risser's Beach, on Nova Scotia's South Shore



Now I live beside a tidal river in rural Nova Scotia, so the salt water flows past where I can see it and breathe its scent every day. The ocean is ten minutes away. I am content.

Heidi, basking in the salt air
* Note * Heidi has no web links at present



14 comments:

  1. Heidi, that's a beautiful quote. I learned to love the ocean at my grandparents' home in Kingsport, on the Midas Basin. The smell of salt and beach grass, the rhythm of the tides, the breeze that always cooled the hottest summer days. The lake at our cottage is lovely too, serene and peaceful, but there's nothing like salt water.

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    1. Maybe it's because we were born to it. Do city-born people yearn for concrete spires and right angled streets if they are too long away? Do unlimited horizons make them uneasy?

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    2. I don't know. I was born in Montreal and spent my first ten years there, but my parents were very attached to NS and we came back every summer. I suppose I learned my love of the ocean from them.

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  2. Can't go on the water, but must be near it. :)

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    2. I love ships, but it's the edges of the sea I need most.

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    3. Well said, Heidi. When I go on vacations and take photos, my favourite ones are always ones with water. Someone pointed out to me once that I took an inordinate number of photos with water in them. It is that craving for the ocean that draws me to such shots.

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  3. Heidi, love the quote. Hadn't really thought about how much I love the ocean until I lived in Alberta for a while and realized how much I missed it.

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  4. Salt water's pretty scarce out there. I'm sure there are a whole slew of Maritimers out in Fort Mac that are pining for a sniff of the sea.

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  5. I'm in total agreement Heidi. And for me, it's got to be the North Atlantic. I've lived in BC and the pacific seems too tame to me. I need my ocean slamming into the cliffs. One of the reasons I set my novels in Newfoundland is because of the ocean. It's inescapable and as you said, a character of its own. Great post.

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  6. We are kindred spirits, Heidi, because the ocean has always been my happy place. I grew up by a beautiful beach on the north side of PEI, and my goal is to one day live at a beach by the ocean again. For me, there's nothing more peaceful than falling asleep on a summer night with the smell of salt air and the sound of the waves drifting through your window.

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