Second only to good food as an Important Getaway Necessity are good books. Because I packed light for this trip (and still had to pay to check my bag), I brought my Kindle and a precious few actual books. The one I HAD to pack is a long-time favorite: “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have a used copy, since I keep giving away every new edition I purchase. The inscription says this copy was given to Esther by Lillian in 1966. I like that.
“Gift from the Sea” was written in 1955, the year I was two. Reading Anne’s beachfront musings is, for me, like hearing the voice of my mother. If she had still been around when I was growing up, I would have wanted her to sound just like Anne.
In each chapter of this precious little book, Anne uses sea shells to represent the issues women face in life. The chapter titled “Moon Shell” is about woman’s need for solitude. Anne describes woman as “the still axis within the revolving wheel of relationships, obligations and activities.” She says occasional solitude is essential for woman to fulfill this role. The moon shell, with its perfect round form and brown eye at the center, represents solitude, says Anne.
I am reveling in solitude for several days here in sunny Florida. Unlike Anne, I’m not on a secluded island beach in a tiny beach house without amenities. I am in a lovely apartment in a Victorian bed and breakfast in a bustling coastal community with a friend nearby who can share my adventures. However, I have spaces of quiet time to pray, ponder, write or just sit. I know how lucky I am and that this time away is a gift, but I also know it will not return void, that those I love also will benefit from my Big, Fat Greek Getaway.
“If women were convinced that a day off or an hour of solitude was a reasonable ambition, they would find a way of attaining it. As it is, they feel so unjustified in their demand that they rarely make the attempt.”
“Actually, these are among the most important times in one’s life — when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone…….women need solitude in order to find the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.”
Anne’s words ring true for me. Maybe they do for you, too?
So about the food….
Yesterday, after a healthy yogurt-and-fruit breakfast, I experienced cannoli in the Tarpon Springs Fresh Market, a corn dog and Italian ice on the beach and wonderful pecan-encrusted catfish at a Caribbean restaurant. Time to walk the beach!