Being Still

Tidal Pool

Tidal Pool

When I walk on the beaches of Hawaii I like to look in the tidal pools for sea creatures that might be trapped.  I have found many different animals like sea stars, crabs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, small fishes of different types and eels.  When I walk along tidal pools I often see creatures scattering, fleeing to get out of sight.

Because so many creatures disappear, I developed a habit of sitting on the edge of the deeper tidal pools waiting to see if the creatures would forget I was there and move about naturally.  The first time I tried this I found a comfortable place on a large lava rock and placed my feet in the water. The tide was pretty forceful so I made sure I was facing the ocean. One thing you learn while living in Hawaii is never turn your back on the ocean.

Anyway, after a short period of time tiny fish ventured out from under small lava rocks and swam around my feet. Several small fish actually touched my ankles as they swam by. Crabs scampered across the rocks not too far from me. In fact one crab sat on a ledge about a foot away and stared at me with his funny little crab eyes. (At least I thought they were crab eyes.) sea anemone

I noticed movement near a small rock by my feet.  As I looked closer, I realized I was watching a baby eel.  I had no idea what kind of eel it was. I tried to memorize the color and pattern of the eel’s camouflage.

I was very disappointed that I did not have my camera with me.  I would have loved to have taken a photograph of him. The eel was fascinating.  I watched him move about until he slowly slipped through a small crevice in the rocks and disappeared out of sight.

Then I noticed a sea urchin. The urchin with all his spines was slowly moving, so slowly that it only moved an inch or so while I was there. I was shocked. I had no idea that sea urchins moved about.

Each time I walk through or near tidal pools I hope I will see something amazing again. I am usually surprised by something I discover. Quite often, I think there is nothing alive in the tidal pools until I am really still. I use the “being still” time to scan the water, to study, to really perceive the environment.  It is such a nice retreat for me when I go to the beach and walk through the tidal pools.

Life now days is all about going and doing. We get caught up in the rat race and we don’t really see what is around us. Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “Nobody sees a flower really, it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.”

So this week, try to apply the concept of “being still” in your daily life and your creative journey.  Give yourself some down time. Use the time to communicate with nature, with God and to reenergize your creative spirit.

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