At the beach this week - the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where we've been coming for years, ever since our children (now young adults) were small. It is where I draw energy for the rest of the year. This year I'm reading the mystic writer Thomas Traherne, who speaks of knowing, in early childhood, that the world is alive with mystery and the presence of God, and then losing that as he is educated in the ways of the world, with its focus on things and status. What I read in him reminds me of William Wordsworth, whose "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Early Youth" sounds the same theme -- at perhaps excessive length. But always at the beach I find myself reciting by heart a passage that comes toward the end of the Immortality Ode. It's great poetry --and speaks to what I carry with me, year to year, from this week of walking along the waves, and just being on vacation in a beautiful place.
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling ever more.