I love the Atlantic coast during the swing season.
The crowds dispersed weeks ago, the water vibrates with warmth from the Gulf Stream, and on the southern beaches, summer weather prevails even in October (provided there isn’t a Category 5 hurricane on the way . . . oops).
For the sea witch, the off seasons make for a lovely, low key time to go work the water.
If you live year-round near an ocean, or you want to make an early off-season trip, here’s some inspiration to make it memorable.
Cleanse. Make your swim mindful. Think of it as a rebirth. At any point in our lives, we may allow ourselves to be reborn, and made into something new. Now is not the time to go dipping your toes. Fully immerse yourself. I like this idea especially in cooler (but not freezing!) weather. The shock of willing yourself into colder water has a powerful effect. Expect to emerge with a renewed sense of energy and faith in your strength.
Make a mini altar or mandala. Go for a walk on the beach and collect natural items. Bits of driftwood, sea shells, gull feathers. Add hurricane candles and take a moment to reflect.
Banish. Write something on the inside of a sea shell that you want out of your life. It can be a person, a habit or a physical thing. Feel the weight of the shell. Allow all the negative effects of this person, habit or thing wash over you. Recognize the impact on your life. Honor your strength to commit to the expulsion. Then, when you are ready, throw the shell in the ocean as hard as you can. Even if it doesn’t go further than the surf, congratulate yourself for taking the first step. Walk away, and don’t look back.
Heal. A nurse practitioner once told me, “The ocean heals everything.” It’s true. Let salt water wash over your wounds—and not just the physical ones. If you bear a recent emotional trauma, carry the weight of it into the water. Feel the power and the majesty of the currents as they unleash your inner strength.
Meditate. Maybe you long ago loaded your MP3 player full of “sounds of the ocean.” Now you find yourself sitting in front of the real deal. Use it! Nothing takes you away like the deep, rhythmic white noise of the ocean. Close your eyes and just . . . listen. Try synchronizing your breath to the waves.
Bless a talisman. Particularly if you have one that represents the ocean—a bracelet of shells, a necklace with a mermaid pendant, or even just a “watery” stone. Either wearing, or with a tight grip on it, plunge into the wild water, say a blessing, and carry the power of the ocean with you when you leave.