My Facebook friend Nicky took this picture from the porch of her home in Durban, South Africa, and posted it. I think she posts one every day, but I don’t know for certain. I’m not on FB regularly.
There’s a beach, of course, several piers that extend into the water, and a worn cliff that juts out into the ocean. I was pretty sure it was the Indian Ocean, but I just searched maps to make sure.
Her pics of Durban bay have been a treat for me for years. Sometimes the sky is sunny and clear, other times overcast. Occasionally there is a freighter or a tanker in view, but not always. Some shots focus on the beachgoers. They make me feel a connection with a place that, previously, I only heard about in news stories about apartheid.
Nicky seems to always be in roughly the same spot, so the same piers and docks appear regularly. Dramatic storm clouds, calm sunshine, vision-obscuring rain. Some of the shots have the orange hue you can see in the photo above. She obviously used a filter of some sort, but I that’s all I know.
I live a short distance from the Pacific, and for the last three-and-a-half decades the “eternal” pounding of the surf has been one of those “fly speck in the galaxy” reminders for me. Before there was a Homo Sapien on the planet inclined to kill its Neanderthal cousin, the same water was rolling up on these same beaches. The water flowing past San Diego the last few months has been here before, around the time Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy.
There’s a comfort in that eternal beach feeling. I prefer to walk on the beach early in the morning, or after dark. Fewer people, less visual discomfort. They say the gentle roar of the surf is like the gentle roar of the womb. Makes sense to me, but I don’t know if it will be proven empirically.
I’ve heard people say that the fact that God is in control of everything comforts them. That never resonated for me. But it just occurred to me that my experience with the eternal surf seems to be my equivalent, and to me it seems like a real equivalent. I suspect that all those other feelings, of reassurance, relaxation, calm and peace–they are part of the experience, too.