For the farm family, vacation time is something that can be harder to attain than an understanding between the Kardashians and most of the free world. After all, there is work to be done – and plenty of it. All year long.
But recently we found ourselves at the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. As I stood before it for the first time, I thought about those who “farm” those waters so we can all enjoy seafood.
I thought about the 1,500-plus people aboard the Titanic who died in that ocean’s freezing water in April 1912. I wondered about lost treasures that lay at the bottom, never to be found.
As I sat speechless, facing the vast and roaring ocean before me, I decided that more songs and literary masterpieces have probably been born while sitting in the mesmerizing presence of such an enormous natural resource, instead of at the back end of a farm animal having her babies … though plenty has been written about that, too.
Here is what I learned:
A). Be inviting; be present. The ocean does not go out to invite people to it, people just come to it because it is naturally inviting. Be the kind of person people want to come and see, and create memories. So many people in our lives look up to us and long for our attention. Always give it to them. Time is short.
B). Make a splash. Waves come to the shoreline, softly lapping or loudly crashing, letting us know they have arrived. Whatever you have to say or do, do it your way.
C). Roar when necessary. When the ocean is angry it emits a thunderous roar. When you need to, make yourself heard however you have to do it. A mad farmer does that well.
D). Ocean spray is not just for cranberries. It’s an unexpected pleasure. Sprinkle some unexpected joy into someone’s life and watch their reaction. You will not be disappointed.
E). Navigate carefully. Sometimes the ocean is rough and sometimes it is calm. Life and people are that way, too. Navigate around others with care and caution. We don’t always know what’s ahead of us, or behind the faces they show the world.
F). Keep moving forward. Waves have one job – to come to shore no matter how far they have to go. In life, always keep moving forward, no matter what happens or how far away our dreams are. Always keep sight of the shore. We will get there eventually if we are patient.
G). Beauty comes in all forms. Waves come in all shapes and sizes, just like people. But it doesn’t matter the shape or size of the wave, there is beauty in every single one, big or small.
H). Humility is good. Often times, small, softly-lapping waves bring as much joy as their louder, faster counterparts. Like soft waves, softly spoken words can have a significant impact.
I). Smooth out the shore sand. Forgiveness can be difficult to master, but just as the ocean water comes up to the shore and smooths it out, so must we be able to do that when someone wrongs us. Write peoples’ transgressions in the sand, not in stone. Stones are unyielding.
J). Blue is beautiful. No matter how many shades of blue make up the ocean, there is beauty in every shade. When we are blue, God is holding us. Life is layered in shades of blue.
K). Leave something beautiful behind. The ocean waves leave gifts behind for us in beautiful, delicate seashells. Not one is the same as another, just as we are all different. As we work toward our final shoreline, always aim to leave something beautiful – our legacy – behind.
L). And finally, find a way to crash. Waves crash and return to the ocean, it’s what they do. As farm people doing difficult, demanding work, it’s important to “crash” (rest) when necessary, so we can return to our important work. So there we were. Resting. Recharging.
And thinking about ways the ocean reminded us about life.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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